Golden ghost crab

Have you ever seen holes on the beach that look as though they have been made by some­one pok­ing an umbrella in the sand? You may actu­ally have been look­ing at the bur­row of a golden ghost crab (Ocy­pode con­vexa).

Ocy­po­did’ (ghost and fid­dler) crabs are ‘semi-terrestrial’ (spend­ing time on the land and in the water) liv­ing on sandy beaches, mud flats and man­groves. They can spend long peri­ods of time out of the water by keep­ing their gills moist in spe­cial gill cham­bers and extract­ing oxy­gen from the air.

Their eyes are stalked, which means they can be laid flat within the grooves on their shell or raised for a bet­ter look around.

They take shel­ter in their cool bur­rows above the high tide water mark dur­ing the day, and come out at night in search of food. Feed­ing on plants, ani­mals and micro-organisms, they will hap­pily eat just about anything!

The golden ghost crab is only found along the West­ern Aus­tralian coast, from Bun­bury to Exmouth. They are rel­a­tively small grow­ing to a cara­pace (shell) width of 45 mm.

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