Critter of the Month
What makes those holes in the mud?
The scientific names pugilator and pugnax means boxer or fighter. Can you tell how these crabs got that name? The crabs with the one large claw and one small claw are the males. The females have two small claws. The big claw looks a little like a boxing glove, but it is not as dangerous as it looks. The male will wave his one big claw then rise onto his tip-toes in a display to attract females. Waving the big claw also makes the crab look like he is playing a fiddle.
(Yes, those by the dock are mud fiddlers. There are sand fiddlers on the road past Ranger Office and also over near the fort.)
If you get too close, they will scurry back into their holes, thinking that you are perhaps an egret wanting crab for lunch. But if you are quiet and wait, they will come back out. What they are doing is feeding. With their small claws they scrape off the surface mud and eat it, rolling it around their mouths to get any algae or plant matter. Then they spit out the used ball of mud.
See how many fiddlers you can count while waiting for the ferry boat.
Remember that all plants and animals in the park are protected by state and federal laws. Please do not try to catch the crabs--just observe them from a distance.
Did You Know?
Ft Matanzas is built with the unique limestone, "coquina". Made of many tiny shell fragments and sand lightly bound together with calcite, it has survived cannon balls and hurricanes but is very fragile to human contact. Ft Matanzas National Monument, Florida