A global community of nature enthusiasts
photographing and learning about wildlife
Pacific Mole Crab (AKA: Pacific Sand Crab) spotted along the Oregon coast. The Pacific Mole Crab is a small crustacean growing up to 35 mm (1.4 in) long and 25 mm (1.0 in) wide. The adult is sand-colored and well camouflaged, and has no claws or spines. It has five pairs of legs and three pairs of pleopods. The sand crab is well adapted to life in the sand, which presents an unstable substrate, and its shape is an elongated dome shape designed for fast burrowing. The eyes are on long stalks and the antennules are also elongated so as to project above the surface of the sand. These form a tube which channels water downwards through the gills. The much longer antennae are retractable. When water is overhead, they also project above the sand surface to collect food particles. The legs and uropods have hairy margins to assist in digging and for use in collecting food and transferring it to the mouth.
The sand crab occurs in North America from Alaska to Baja California and in South America, where it is found from Salaverry, Peru, southwards to around Cape Horn and into southern Argentina.
Pacific Mole Crabs molt periodically, so their exoskeletons may be found washed up on the beach.
Spotted on Jun 8, 2021
Submitted on Jul 6, 2021
Shoot, thanks for the catch on the marker location, should be on the beach near Washburne State Park, north of the city of Florence, OR. Will fix now!
Very cool spotting Sargon. I've never found one of these. Check your map thought the marker is in central Oregon.