What are these beach critters? #726780 - Ask Extension


What are these beach critters? #726780

Asked September 25, 2020, 10:50 AM EDT

I’ve grown up seeing these little critters at the beach, but my family just called them ‘sand fleas’. What are they really? Thank you so much for the help!

New Hanover County North Carolina

Expert Response

Atlantic Mole Crab, Emerita talpoida Atlantic Mole Crabs, also known as sand crabs, live along the swash zone (where waves crash on the beach). They feed on plankton and move up and down the beach as the tides change. If you dig in the sand at the swash zone, you can dig up these small tan crabs. Mole Crabs are harmless, as they lack pinchers and only move in one direction, backwards.  


Thank you,
Susan Brown 

Susan Brown Replied September 25, 2020, 12:49 PM EDT
Wonderful!  Thank you, Ms. Brown!
The Question Asker Replied September 25, 2020, 3:07 PM EDT

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