Ghost Crab

annabelleIn the field, Photography, Uncategorized, Wildlife

Horn-eyed Ghost Crab (Ocypode ceratophthalma)
Horn-eyed Ghost Crab (Ocypode ceratophthalma)

Horn-eyed Ghost Crab (Ocypode ceratophthalmus)

A feisty Horn-eyed Ghost Crab  (Ocypode ceratophthalmus) adopts a defensive position on Broome’s Cable Beach.  Ghost crabs are named for their pale carapace, and this particular species for the protrusions from its eye stalks.   Ocypode ceratiphthalmus is found on exposed, seaward beaches, and is active at night.

Ghost crabs have one claw larger than the other, and nest in burrows up to 200m from the low tide mark.  The burrows can be identified by conical piles of sand at the entrance.   Ocypode translates as “swift foot”.  Extremely fast runners, Ocypode ceratiphthalmus is one of the fastest crustaceans on sand, running on three legs (a common gait for ghost crabs) and reaching speeds of 7.2km per hour.