With so much organic matter washed into the Bay after heavy rains we’re lucky to have a dedicated team on patrol to clean up the muck. Soldier crabs (Mictyris platycheles) are known to gather in thousands where sandflats and mudflats merge. They chew through huge amounts of sand to find and eat tiny particles of organic matter and single celled algae. Such attention to the small things makes them a very useful for maintaining water quality and as part of the food web.
These fierce looking crabs aren’t quite so scary in real life as their bodies are only about 15mm wide. A nice bite-sized snack for a fish! Perhaps this is why they feed at low tide and at the first sign of danger rapidly dig themselves below the surface.
Thanks go to Jim Walker for this pic.