Welcome to Superoceras, a blog about science and natural history, slightly biased towards paleontology and zoology, but inclusive of all sciences. Started in October of 2009, my goal is to communicate scientific knowledge (and the occasional piece of nonsense) in an informative and entertaining manner. Feel free to contact me with questions, comments, concerns, or criticism at superoceras(at)gmail(dot)com, and follow me on Twitter @Superoceras for all that and more in 140 characters or less!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Fiddler on the Beach

A sand fiddler crab emerges from his burrow. Photographed at North Peninsula State Park, Florida.
In the last post (and quite some time ago) I wrote about how closely connected our world is to off-world things. The Sun, Moon, and tides are all non-living components of the natural world that interact with one another.  But they also interact with many living components as well.  In fact, there are many species that live their lives completely governed by the rise and fall of the tides.  One of my favorite is the sand fiddler crab (Uca pugilator).  I mean, who doesn't love a boy with a giant claw? Fiddler crabs live in burrows created in the mud or sand along coastal areas. And although I don't normally see them on the beach, I do see them up and down Jefferson Creek where I kayak in Delaware.  But only if I'm very quiet, and very lucky to catch a glimpse of them.  These crabs will scatter and retreat to their burrows when startled.  They also do this during high tides, only to emerge again during low tide when they spend their time feeding and trying to attract mates.  The crabs live by the tidal patterns; their behavior is triggered by the Earth’s rotation itself.  These triggers can also come in the form of changes in temperature, light, or even color.