Mole crabs live in the surf-washed beaches where they bury themselves, hind-first, in the wet sand of sloping beaches. From their sandy nooks they extend their antennae in order to collect food as it is carried by with the waves and currents. Native to Puerto Rico and its archipelago, Mole crabs are found less often in Texas Gulf Coast waters and the western shores of Florida. A favorite food of Pompano, their presence provides great sport to surf anglers. Mole crabs are also a valuable indicator species, and scientists are able to test levels of mercury chloride in the crabs to assess the water toxicity of the places in which they live.
Puerto Rican Sand Crab (Emerita portoricensis)
Last updated: February 24, 2015