• 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.

  • North Beach is open, South Beach will open at 8 am 4/5/2014

    The oil-covered materials on the beach have been removed, and clean-up is nearly complete. The North Beach portion of the park is open to driving as of 11:50 am on 4/4/2014. The South Beach portion will open to driving at 8 am on 4/5/2014.

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?

NPS arrowhead

Beaches in Texas are considered public highways and therefore all vehicles on them must be street-legal and licensed. More...