Ghost Crab, Ocypode occidentalis
The Ghost Crab, Ocypode occidentalis, is a member of the Ocypodidae Family of Crabs. They are characterized by the unequal size of their claws (chelae) and long heavy eye stalks. They live very close to the surf line with the larger ones found just above the high tide line and the small ones closer to the surf. They are nocturnal creatures appearing just at sunset being omnivorous macroscavengers eating anything found in the drift line focusing on dead fish and crustaceans. Collection is fairly difficult as they are quite speedy and not afraid of crashing waves and they do have strong pinchers that can inflict major instant pain. There are reports that they are easy to catch by following their burrow and the report that they can dig faster than an hombre with a shovel is a myth. They reach a maximum size of 15 cm (6 inches). The Goast Crab is found along the Pacific side of the Baja, in the upper portions of the Sea of Cortez, and along the coast of the mainland through to Guatemala.
Ghost Crab, Ocypode occidentalis. Caught by hand off the beach at km 21, Cabo Real, Baja California Sur, August 2004. Size: 12.5 cm (5.0 inches). And yes they can run faster than Usain Bolt!
Ghost Crab, Female, Ocypode occidentalis. Caught by hand off the beach at km 21, Cabo Real, Baja California Sur, January 2018. Size: 12.5 cm (5.0 inches).
Ghost Crab, Ocypode occidentalis. Caught taking a stroll on the beach of India Bay, Huatulco, Oaxaca, January 2018. Photo courtesy of Jason Quick, Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada.