Range/Geographical Distribution: From Cape Cod to Texas.
Habitat: The sand fiddler (U. pugilator) and the mud fiddler (U. pugnax) are found in high salinity brackish and salt water marshes. The red-jointed fiddler (U. minax) is found in freshwater to low salinity brackish water marshes.
Description: A small, square-shaped crab. Males have one claw greatly enlarged; females have claws of equal size.
Size: Can reach a carapace length of one and a half inches.
Food: Sift through sediment for algae and decaying vegetation; leave behind “clean” balls of sand after feeding. Males cannot feed with their large claw and therefore must feed faster and more often than females.
Breeding: Males use their enlarged claw to attract a mate. After mating, females carry the fertilized eggs on their abdomen until they hatch. The larvae are released into the water after several months during a nocturnal high tide.
Predators: Birds, fish, and raccoons.
Conservation Status: No legal status.
Interesting Facts: Fiddler crabs dig burrows along the flats and banks of coastal marshes. Each burrow has one opening and can reach two feet in length. The male’s claw can be up to half of his body weight.
On the Coast: All three of these species can be found along Georgia’s coast. They live in large groups along the sandy edge of the saltmarsh and may be seen in large swarms among the grasses.