Crabs, Fiddler

These purple-mottled crabs live in colonies in the intertidal zone of protected beaches and salt marshes. Males have one large claw that they wave around (play the fiddle) to impress females and warn off encroaching males. This large claw, while impressive, allows the male to only be able to eat with its one small claw, while females have a much easier time with their equal sized claws. Considering who is producing thousands of eggs this seems fair (smile).

When you approach the stands of Spartina grass at low tide, walk quickly, but quietly, with your ears and eyes open. You will hear the rustling of the grass and the snapping of hundreds of tiny claws before you actually see the Fiddler Crab March on the Marsh.

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