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Alantic Ghost Crab burrow

Ocypode quadrata


Burrow opening surrounded by a pattern of tracks.


This burrow was well up the beach, near the dunes. Young crabs burrow just above the intertidal zone, but adults dig their burrows higher up, sometimes even behind the forward dunes. Burrows have a single opening and descend 0.6 to 1.2 meters at a 45 degree angle. Although these crabs are often out and about during the day, they are most active at night. (Gosner 1978)


These crabs dig burrows above the intertidal zone on ocean beaches from Delaware (U.S.A.) through the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico to Brazil. Ghost crabs have been used as indicators for measuring the impacts of human use on beaches. Their population is relatively easy to monitor; the density of ghost crabs on a beach can be estimated by counting the number of burrows in a certain area. Population densities have declined due to habitat modification and heavy, continuous trampling. Because ghost crabs are apex predators of the habitat, monitoring their population can allow humans to assess the impact of human activity on sandy beach ecosystems. (Hobbs, et al., 2008; Schlacher and Lucrazi, 2009)

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Dauphin Island, Alabama, USA

Lat: 30.25, Long: -88.14

Spotted on May 17, 2014
Submitted on May 30, 2014

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