I find these sand crabs fascinating. The ‘art’ they create is so intricate and so neat, it’s amazing. There’s often a floral pattern in the way the tiny sand balls have been placed.
When walking at low tide on the beach near the Keppel Bay marina, I discovered a whole section of the beach just covered with these tiny balls of sand. They caught my eye at Pancake Creek and Great Keppel Island too.
A bit more research … on the sand bubbler crab and the soldier crab.
The sand bubbler crab is a tiny crab just under 1 cm wide (a well camouflaged crab too as you will see in my photos). At low tide they emerge from their burrows scouring for food. The little balls are a byproduct of their dinner. They scoop up the sand with their claws and once they’ve eaten, they discard the unwanted sand away from their burrow by forming tiny balls, throwing them behind their legs. They work radially from their burrow forming intricate patterns around their burrow entrance.
I took my new Olympus TG4 camera the next day when I walked. I would have loved to have snapped some images of the crabs at work but these crabs are a bit too smart for that. I did get some photos of a few crabs scouring across the sand. I found that my macro setting on this camera to be brilliant. So easy to use. (When I researched this camera, I spoke to Ted’s who informed me that surgeons often buy this camera because of its macro setting capabilities.)
These soldier crab photos were taken at Pancake Creek at low tide. We were anchored just near the sand shallows so when the tide revealed these sand flats, it was time for a walk with the camera (this time with my digital Olympus SLR). I always find the blue soldier crabs fascinating, how they congregate and move in their thousands. Once again, they leave the small sand balls after they’ve eaten.