Calico Box Crab

Calico box crab
Calico box crab on shore at Big Shell Beach.

Photo courtesy of Kyle Christensen

Oftentimes found washed ashore on Padre Island in small, colorful shell fragments, in life, the Calico Box crab (also known as a leopard crab) is a brightly colored two- to four-inch crab, with red patches on a gray to pale yellow carapace.This coloring enables it to bury itself in sandy areas of shallow waters, and blend into the substrate to hide.Its range includes most of the entire Gulf of Mexico, where they are relatively common. This very aggressive crab moves in water using its back legs, which are modified to help them swim.

Calico crabs are scavengers, not hunters, and they feed on the detritus (decomposing organic matter from plants and animals), serving in the diverse "garbage disposal" community of the ocean. The Calico box crab is a major part of the Kemp’s ridley sea turtle diet.

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Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 181300
Corpus Christi, TX 78480

Phone:

(361) 949-8068
This is the primary phone number for the Malaquite Visitor Center at Padre Island National Seashore.

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