Ghost Crab

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Project Description

Ghost Crab

Ocypode quadrata

 

Range/Geographical Distribution: From Delaware through the Caribbean south to Brazil.

Habitat: Above the intertidal zone on sandy beaches.

Description: A pale, sand-colored crab with white claws and a square shell.  Hairy legs and large, stalked eyes.

Size: Can reach two inches in carapace (shell) width.

Food: Predators and scavengers; feed on clams, mole crabs, and sea turtle eggs and hatchlings.

Breeding: Mate throughout the year. Females carry the eggs on their abdomens and then release them into the surf.  Larvae go through several planktonic stages before metamorphosizing into the adult form.

Predators: Birds and raccoons.

Conservation Status: No legal status.

Interesting Facts: Ocypode means swift-footed.  Ghost crabs may go to the surf to wet their gills but will drown if kept submerged.  These crabs burrow along the beach from just above the high tide line to behind the first line of dunes.  Burrows have one opening and can reach four feet in length.  Ghost crabs are most active at night and communicate using sounds made with their legs and claws.

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