Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Wildlife Wednesday - Sand Crab

Can you see the sand crab in the photo?

They have incredible camouflage, don't they? I only see them when they scurry, and this one stood up so his shadow helped highlight him.

Oh, poop! I looked up sand crab and generally, the crabs called sand crabs have two distinct dots on the back of their shell. Poop! So I've always called these guys sand crabs...and they're not :( Why does Wildlife Wednesday do this to me!?!?!?!

So, it's a crab, of some sort! Okay, Google is my friend.

Maybe it's a Ghost Crab. The description sounds right and the eyes are on stalks, it's the right tiny size, the camouflage is right. But the Australian Museum site has no picture. And the pictures I've seen don't really convince me either way. But none of the crabs on here look right either (this is a NSW Dept. guide).

Oh, but one of the sites references Dakin's Australian Seashores book (another of my favourite books that was left at my parents' when I moved inland but I claimed it later, phew! What would I do without my library?), which is in my bookcase...and now I'm happy! It has a photo of my crab on page 226 and it says it's "one of the ghost crabs, so named because of their translucent cryptic colouring".

This is what Dakin says:
  • They have holes in dry sand well above the high tide mark
  • They burrow up to 1m deep (that's not bad for a crab that's about 3 cm in size!)
  • They're swift footed and very difficult to catch
  • Night time is their favourite hunting period
  • they can make noise :) but very few people have ever heard it (oh, only one species, and not the one I photographed). The one that makes noise prefers warmer climes, north of Sydney.

Happy now. Thank you Wildlife Wednesday, now I'll call it a Ghost Crab and be correct!