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Pacific Sand Crab Emerita analoga


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Pacific Sand Crab
credit: jkirkhart25/CCSA

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Alternate name: Pacific Mole Crab

Category: Crabs and Shrimp view all from this category

Description Emerita analoga, the Pacific sand crab or Pacific mole crab, is a species of small, sand-burrowing decapod crustacean found living in the sand along the temperate western coasts of America. It is found on exposed sandy beaches in the swash region of the intertidal zone.

The Pacific sand crab is a small crab growing up to 35 millimetres (1.4 in) long and 25 mm (1.0 in) wide. The female is nearly twice as large as the male and may be identified by the orange egg mass often carried under the telson. The adult is sand-coloured and well camouflaged and has no claws or spines. There are five pairs of legs and three pairs of pleopods. The crab moults periodically so its exoskeleton may be found washed up on the beach.

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 there is water overhead, they also project above the sand surface in order 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.

Habitat Sandy beaches.

Range Western Canada, California, Northwest, Alaska.