Mole Crab

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Project Description

Mole Crab

Emerita talpoida

Range/Geographical Distribution: Cape Cod to Florida and the Gulf of Mexico.

Habitat: Open sandy beaches between high and low-tide lines.

Description: Egg-shaped crab that is pale gray/tan in color.

Size: Can reach one inch in length.

Food: Plankton and organic debris.

Breeding:  Sexual reproduction, the small males become semi-parasitic during mating.  Female carries the bright orange eggs until they hatch into planktonic larvae.

Predators:  Shorebirds, crabs, and fish.

Conservation Status: No legal status.

Interesting Facts:  Mole crabs are completely harmless; they cannot bite, pinch, or sting.  Also called sand fleas, these crustaceans are one of a fisherman’s favorite baits.

On the Coast:  Mole crabs live beneath the crashing waves along Georgia’s beaches and move up and down the sand with the tides.

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