Topic: Crabs

I was at Sunset/Higbee Beaches on 9/23/08. I'm curious about the large number of dead Spider Crabs on the beach. We always go to CM at this time of year and have never seen those crabs before.

Also, on the ocean side just below the lighthouse, there were many holes in the sand--two sizes, the larger avg. 2 1/2" diam., the smaller maybe less than one inch diam. Are these made by crabs--what species?

Re: Crabs

The ocean will throw up lots of one thing or another.  It depends on the wind and the type of animal or plant (seaweed) that is close to the beach at the time.  We've had easterly winds for about a week, so it is likely that lots of spider crabs were near shore and simply washed up with these winds.

The larger of the holes you saw were those of ghost crabs, which can be 3" long.  Watch from a distance and if you are patient you will see the little devils emerging from their holes in search of a meal.  The smaller holes are from mole crabs, which are 1" or less in length.  The shorebirds (sandpipers like Sanderling) catch them and eat them.  You can watch them feeding and see them catching these tasty morsels.  Anglers use them as bait at times.