Hermit of the Swash

Meet the Pacific Sand Crab (Emerita analoga), a small crustacean that lives in the swash zone (you know, the section of sand in between the backbeach and the surf zone). Not an easy environment to survive in as the sand is constantly being tossed by the whims of the sea. Added to their challenge is the threat of predation from a number of shore birds, as well as Sea Otters and Barred Surfperch. Apparently, they’re delicious, with a shrimp-y or crab-like flavor.

I found it interesting that emerita means deserted (from the Latin eremus, from the Greek eremos). In Spanish the word evolved to mean hermit (one living in a deserted place). Did the sand crab earn this name because the swash zone is relatively uninhabited?

I discovered this little girl (the males are much smaller) during low tide. After her photo op I gently replaced her in the sand where she swiftly disappeared (backend first).


Categories: Nature Notes

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