Ghost Crab

Created on Day 5

Design

The Creator has given this crab an exceptional ability that helps it survive during the winter. The ghost crab stores oxygen in air sacs near its gills. During its winter hibernation, it uses this stored oxygen while it remains buried in the sand.

Features

  • The ghost crab is aptly named. It is a pale, sandy color, making it almost invisible on the sand.
  • Its black eyes are held aloft on stalks.
  • Like all true crabs, the ghost crab has five pairs of legs, the first of which is a pair of claws (called chelipeds), one of which is larger than the other.

Fun Facts

  • The ghost crab is sometimes called the sand crab.
  • These crabs tunnel up to four feet into the sand at a 45° angle, creating 1 to 2 inch-wide holes, which speckle the beach.
  • The ghost crab can move at speeds up to 10 miles per hour (4.5 m/s), while making sharp directional changes.
  • This creatures uses its sharp 360-degree vision to see flying insects and catch them in mid air.
  • The ghost crab has the ability to “deposit feed”—it passes sand through its mouthparts and extracts the nutrients from the algae in the sand.

SUBPHYLUM: Crustacea

CLASS: Malacostraca (woodlice, shrimp, lobsters, crabs, etc.)

ORDER: Decapoda (crabs, shrimp, and relatives)

FAMILY: Ocypodidae (ghost crabs and fiddler crabs)

GENUS: Ocypode (20 species)

Size: About 2 in (5 cm)

Diet: Small crabs, clams, turtle hatchlings, organic matter

Habitat: Exposed beaches from the tropical and subtropical coasts, including the American Atlantic, through the Mediterranean and Red Sea, to the American Pacific and Indo-Pacific region