Horned Ghost Crab - Fast and Furious Sand Scurrier
Living in the Indo-Pacific region (from the East Coast of Africa to the Philippines, Japan, Australia and the Pacific Islands) the horned ghost crab is a smallish crab that can blend in with the sand. The body shell is box-shaped and the pincers are long and pale-colored. It is also called “horn-eyed” because as you can see the “horns” are something called eyestalks that contain the eyes and have pointed ends. There are other species of ghost crabs and some of them have horns too. The crab has gills like a fish but ones that it can keep wet with the water from the sea so that they are able to breathe while out on the land. They can also grab some extra moisture from the wet sand when they need to. When it is low tide is when the crabs venture out to scavenge for for food. They are omnivorous so whatever turns up in the sand that is about the right size might be something they will consider eating. Shrimp and worms are some favorites.
The crabs are very fast, darting to and from across the sand almost looking as if they were flying across the surface of the sand. They are also often a color that lets them blend into the sand so that if you spot one running and it freezes it can vanish like a “ghost” with its camouflage. They aren’t always colored the color of sand though, they can be a variety of colors across the regions where they inhabit from greenish to blue-ish and even red-purple-ish. Sand flats with mangroves are ideal locations for them where they can dig nice burrows. They are very diligent about digging big and nice burrows. They will also dig out a quick hole to hide. Burrow territory is something very serious to the crabs and if one tries to take over a burrow of another a fight will likely ensue.