Have you ever seen one of these critters at the beach? Also known as “sand crabs” or “sand fleas,” Pacific mole crabs (Emerita analoga) can be found across the western coasts of North and South America. East Coast residents might encounter their relatives, the Atlantic sand crabs (Emerita talpoida), during summertime beach trips. Mole crabs migrate with the tides, keeping up with breaking waves to filter feed on plankton brought in by the crashing waters. These critters use their back legs to get around, and they burrow backwards, too.
Photo: eeowes, CC BY-NC 4.0, flickr