Pacific Mole Crab Season

No, they’re not edible…by humans anyway.

I haven’t seen a lot of the Pacific Mole Crabs this year until this week.  Maybe I haven’t been looking?  Regardless, there were lots of parts washed up on the beach the last couple days.

Mole Crab Parts
Mole Crab Parts

At minus tide, this morning, I saw lots of mole crab tracks and the holes where they burrow in.

Mole Crab Holes
Mole Crab Holes

The crows dig up the female mole crabs, eat the eggs and leave them for dead.  The crab has a body part that they use to dig with.

Mole Crab Burrowing
Mole Crab Burrowing

It covers the eggs too.  See what’s left of the yellow/orange eggs below.  When the crows eat the protein-rich eggs, they damage that part so that they can’t dig.

Crows eat the eggs
Crows eat the eggs

The only dead mole crabs I saw on the beach were females.  I wonder if the crows can tell the males from the females before they dig them out?

He looks injured when he walks
He looks injured when he walks

I didn’t pick this one up to see if it was male or female.  I was just interested in seeing him walk (almost upright).  I thought they did more of a crawl.

Sand Fleas Eating Mole Crab
Sand Fleas Eating Mole Crab

The crows actually let the crabs bake for a few hours before they, with their friends, come back to eat more of them.  Then the sand fleas finish them off.

 

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4 thoughts on “Pacific Mole Crab Season”

    1. I’m not exactly sure Rita but I wonder if it’s the season for them to be hatching (or laying?) their eggs? There are a lot of migrating birds this time of year so they could be feeding on them in large numbers?

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