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Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Sand Bubbler Crab


While beachcombing in Bintan, we were fascinated by the radial patterns made of wee balls of sand that littered the beach. On closer inspection, we found itty-bitty crabs hurling little sand balls onto the beach, creating a unique artwork that patterned around small holes. I thought those teensy-weensy critters were hermit crabs. Turned out I was wrong. They were actually sand bubbler crabs.

Here's what I've learned.

A sand bubbler crab - it measures no more than an inch across

During low tide, the sand bubblers emerge from their burrows to feed. They ingest the sand, sieving out detritus (the food particles hidden within the sand) and regurgitate unwanted particles in the form of tiny perfectly shaped spheres of sand that are littered all over the beach.

With only a few hours available before the tide returns, the crabs need to work super fast. Each crab produces 12 balls every minute which adds up to 3000 balls per crab in a single day between the tides!!!


Losing one's way among the thousands of balls is easy so the bubbler crab leaves behind an escape route - a narrow passage free of balls that leads straight back to the safety of its burrow!!!

You can almost tell how long the tide has been out by the patterns of their sand balls. The more intricate the pattern, the longer the tide has been out.

Watch a sand bubbler in action in this cute video! - http://videos.howstuffworks.com/animal-planet/29027-fooled-by-nature-sand-bubbler-crabs-video.htm

"Everything that ever walked or crawled on the face of the earth, swum the depths of the ocean or soared through the skies left its imprint here."
Robert M. Fresco

* pictures taken at the Mayang Sari Beach, Bintan

20 comments:

Adrienne said...

Fascinating! Great shots...it is like art! And loved the quote you chose.

littlemochis said...

Perfect quote ;)

Life with Kaishon said...

How fantastic. I love it. What pretty designs we find all around in nature!

Fatty Bumpkins said...

Really amazing pictures. I am following you and I am from MBC. :)

Taffy said...

Hello thanks for stopping in at my blog A side of sanity, just came to check your out ad wow such a neat post! The pictures are beautiful! I followed you on network blogs =)

The Holmes Crew said...

How neat! My boys love finding and learning about crabs of all kinds. Can't wait to show them this post!

Mommyof2girlz said...

First wow! What a perfect quote for the pictures. Those little crabs are so interesting and love the re form designs they make. thanks for the story on them. Learn something new everyday..lol Hope your having a wonderful Sunday sweetie.

yonca said...

Fantastic picsasa;ways, Veronica. Thanks for stopping by! I missed u too.

JoeTaz said...

Following you from Super Stalker Sunday Blog Hop

Please follow me back if you get the chance Taz's Journey

Lin said...

WOW, cool!! Now THAT is the kind of stuff that I like. I would love to see those little guys in action. And their little sand balls sort of make art, don't they? I'll bet the boys enjoyed those little guys!

Amie said...

wow. very cool. I have never heard of these little guys. What art they create! Thx for capturing it and for sharing.

:)
Amie
www.heart-smiles.blogspot.com

Fresh Mommy said...

Wow, that is so incredible! I just love all the amazing things about this great earth. I'm so glad you shared this... new to me and what fun beach patterns. :)

~Tabitha

Steph said...

simply fascinating! e and i watched that video at least 3 times this afternoon! wow - such smart creatures!!!

Michelle said...

That is very cool!! Thanks for sharing!

RaeBeth said...

very interesting and educational. the pictures are great. I'd like to also let ya know that I am a new follower from the Blog hop and would love if you checked out/followed my blog. Have a nice day.

http://raebethsblog.blogspot.com/

~ Noelle said...

now that is soo neat

Chris said...

A sand bubbler crab? Never heard o that one before....

How incredibly interesting little creatures they are!

:)

April said...

Dropping by from Monkey Around Monday. What a cool animal that crab is. I'm your newest follower. :)

Sonya said...

You have a great looking blog! Thanks for stopping by mine. I'm following you now :)

alissa4illustration said...

That's pretty cool! I love when animals and bugs make artwork. Like when spiders build a fascinating web.

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