Range Tracking

Ghost Crabs Under Stormy Skies

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The eastern sky was ablaze at sunset on 12 September 2014 but quickly faded leaving the beach under dark, stormy skies with Atlantic Ghost Crabs darting about everywhere.
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The orange tape on sticks seen in the foreground on the beach marks a sea turtle nest.
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The opposite view looking west over the Indian River Lagoon toward the remnants of the setting Sun.
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The Ghost Crab is common on Indian River County beaches but the crab’s ability to run up to speeds at ten miles per hour (part of its Latin name, Ocypoda, translates as “swift-footed”) and its mainly nocturnal lifestyle makes it an elusive animal to observe and certainly helps the Ghost Crab live up to its name.
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Ghost Crabs can’t swim but will frequently enter shallow water to escape predators, wet their gills, or to deposit their eggs.
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Ghost Crabs are omnivorous and, locally, they will prey on Loggerhead sea turtle eggs and hatchlings. Since the crabs live in burrows up to four feet deep, digging down into a sea turtle nest is no problem.
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The Ghost Crab life span is up to three years.
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Disappearing into the surf.

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