Sand Bubbler Crabs

Scopimera inflata is an artist among crabs, creating beautiful patterns of tiny sand spheres while foraging for food. The crab scuttles from its hole, and begins rolling balls while sucking any algae and other nutritious goodies from the sand. The territory of each crab (and the extent of its patterns) changes each tide as the waves wash away the old sandy bubbles and deposit whole new worlds of microscopic food to devour; although the foraging patterns are non-ideal on a small, short scale, the beauty of sand bubble art optimizes for food for over larger areas and longer times.

Traces from the Sand Bubbler Crabs of Queensland.

Traces from the Sand Bubbler Crabs of Queensland.

I decided against submitting the crab art for the geology photography contest. They are trace fossils and biological cementing of sandy conglomerates and demonstrate dynamic geology over very short time scales, and I still think they’re pretty, but it’s hard to pick just one photo!

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