Vijayawada

Red Ghost crabs add colour to Sagarasangamam beach

They stand out on the beach because of their bright red colour. The Red Ghost Crabs (Ocypode Macrocera) are seen in large numbers at Sagarasangamam, the sandy beaches of Krishna estuary.

When a large number of these crabs come out of their burrows, the section of the beach appears bright red. Crabs of the Ocypodinae sub-family are characterised by the thick and elongated eyestalks, box-like body and one claw being larger than the other. The differences in claw sizes are, however, not as marked as in the male Fiddler Crabs.

The burrows have a single opening towards the sea. The well soaked sand of the burrows provides the crabs with a thermally stable environment. The burrows, however, do not penetrate the water table. The burrows of these crabs are not used by crabs of other species and only a single crab occupies a burrow at a time.

“These crabs are a real treat to the eye. The children who rarely get to see such creatures are very amused,” said Mr. S. Kesava Rao, who went to the beach all the way from here for the weekend.

The Red Ghost Crabs seem to be different from the other species of Ghost Crabs. The regular Ghost Crabs get their name because of their nocturnal (preferring night to feed) and their pale colours. The Red Ghost Crabs are active both during day and night.

And, their bright red colour makes them easy to spot on the sand. Scientists have found the Red Ghost Crab to be solitary feeders. Their feeding habit was found to be both scavenging (feeding on dead animals) and even predatory (hunting).

The Red Ghosts are found more in number near estuaries and prefer sandy beaches that were not used by humans.

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Printable version | Jan 16, 2021 5:31:22 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Vijayawada/red-ghost-crabs-add-colour-to-sagarasangamam-beach/article6605460.ece

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