• Aerial View of Padre Island National Seashore

    Padre Island

    National Seashore Texas

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  • Park Phone issues

    The visitor center main phone line and fax line are not working. To reach the park visitor center, call (361) 949-8069. Fax to (361) 949-7091, Attention: Visitor Center. We apologize for the inconvenience.

  • Bird Island Basin Campground rehabilitation starts August 18, 2014

    The second part of a project to repair facilities and rebuild eroded shoreline at Bird Island Basin Campground begins August 18. Minor disruptions of activities in the immediate area may occur. None of the work should affect use of the boat ramp.


Ghost Crab

Ghost crabs are nocturnal but can often be seen at dusk or occasionally during the day, particularly when the weather is cloudy.

Photo by Tracy Parris

As you walk over the dunes towards the beach or sit at your picnic table eating lunch, you may catch a glimpse of a ghost crab scuttling across the sand or peering out of its cool, shaded burrow. While they are one of the most commonly seen crustaceans at Padre Island National Seashore, they are just one of 41 crustacean species that have been documented in the park. Crustaceans include such familiar animals as crabs, crayfish, lobsters, shrimp, and barnacles. Most species are aquatic, living in either fresh or salt water habitats, but some have adapted to life on land.

Though crustaceans are oftentimes small creatures, remember that they are valued residents to the unique and fragile ecosystems in which they live. Some burrow into the mud of marshes, creating a complex maze of tunnels that aerate the marsh grasses and underwater seagrass meadows. Many species eat dead or decomposing plant and animal matter, providing healthy soils for new plant growth. Certain crustaceans are also indicators to scientists for signs of pollution and other types of ecosystem damage. Economically, certain species such as lobsters, crab, and shrimp, have sustained cultures and commercial fishing-based communities for generations.

Click on any of the links below to learn more about the specific crustaceans that can most often be seen at the National Seashore.


Did You Know?

A Kemp's ridley returns to the Gulf with a radio transmitter so that her travels outside of nesting season can be tracked.

Kemp's ridley sea turtles are both the smallest and the most endangered sea turtles in the world. Padre Island National Seashore is one of only a few places in the world where Kemp's ridley sea turtles come to nest. More...