• 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 Shrimp

Ghost Shrimp


Ghost shrimp are appropriately named because they are totally transparent. Despite their shrimp-like appearance, they are actually more closely related to crabs. Four distinct species of Ghost shrimp have been identified as inhabiting the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. Found at water’s edge, they burrow down in seafloor sediments, collecting bits of food. Though they are small, reaching up to three to four inches, Ghost shrimp can dig burrows that can be four feet deep. They are an important part of intertidal ecosystems, because they drive oxygen into the sand as they burrow, which helps organic matter to decompose, enriching the sediment, and ultimately providing food for more creatures.

Ghost shrimp burrow casts that were made by US Geologic Survey

The US Geological Survey made casts of Ghost shrimp burrows to better understand their lives below the surface of the sand.


Outside of the National Seshore, fishermen use them as bait, using a plunger-like sand pump that sucks the shrimp out of their burrows, but are allowed to collect no more than 20 per day. At the park, these shrimp are protected from being used as bait by fishermen, and extracting the shrimp is prohibited in order to provide a healthy food supply to migratory birds. Even though they are close to the bottom of the food chain, Ghost shrimp are hardy animals, and can survive for up to six days without oxygen. At low tide you can often see little volcano-like holes in the sand, which are Ghost shrimp burrows. At the water's edge, the world underneath your toes is complex and dynamic, and Ghost shrimp are among many other creatures that call this fragile habitat their home.

Did You Know?

Beach wheelchairs are available for loan, but must be returned by the Visitor Center's closing time.

Padre Island National Seashore has a wheelchair designed for use on loose sand available for loan at no charge. Users must leave a driver's license or their personal wheelchair at the information desk while the beach wheelchair is on loan. More...