• Aerial View of Padre Island National Seashore

    Padre Island

    National Seashore Texas

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  • BIB Campground Rehabilitation begins March 17, 2014

    A project to repair the facilities and rebuild the eroded shoreline in the Bird Island Basin Campground will begin March 17, 2014. Minor disruptions in the immediate area may occur. Please note that none of the work should affect the use of the boat ramp.

Crustaceans

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?

The National Park Service arrowhead contains a white buffalo, an animal sacred to many native Americans.

Although Padre Nicolas Balli established the first permanent settlement on the island, the island was previously owned by his father and his grandfather, who obtained the original grant from the Spanish crown. More...