For Pacific Mole Crabs It’s Dig or Die | Deep Look

by birtanpublished on September 4, 2020

chaotic turbulent harsh the ocean's edge is the easiest place to make a home and yet someone does Pacific mole crabs also called sand crabs you've probably seen the little holes they make they spend their lives just

Under the surface of the sand waves crashing overhead that ever-present flux offers a meal each wave kicks up plankton and other tasty morsels they peep out from below the sand and use their feathery antennae

To catch food right out of the water but they can't just sit around gorging themselves all day the crabs want to stay in the swash zone this part here where the waves break and sweep in but it's always moving with the

Tides up and down the beach so the mole crabs have to move with it but they're not the only ones out here looking for a meal two birds they're basically beach candy easy

Pickings so mole crabs have become champion diggers they can disappear in a flash back under the sand to hide but they have to be fast so what makes them so good at burrowing researchers at UC

Berkeley want to find out back at the lab they film the mole crabs in action using high-speed cameras mole crabs actually burrow backwards digging into the sand with their pointy rumps but moving densely packed sand is hard

Work the grains stick to each other making it tough to push through so the crabs have become tiny engineers they stir up the wet sand with their tails making it easier to move a process

Called liquefaction then they push the loose sand up toward the surface by handing it off between their five pairs of legs see kinda like a conveyor belt the waves never rest so the mole crabs

Do this day and night as they're tossed and tumbled but they take it all in stride when you survive on chaos fluidity is what it's all about hi there it's Lauren again make sure not to miss any crazy behaviors from the

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