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Soldier Crabs, Deep Creek, Valla

Soldier Crabs, Deep Creek, Valla

The tide is turning in and the army is heading home, marching towards me standing on the shoreline, walking forwards unlike most crabs.

Soldier crabs on the march
Soldier crabs on the march
Soldier crabs1
‘We arrived on the sea beach, about a couple of miles north of the bar of the Nambucca . . . We now walked easily along the smooth sands, left bare by the tide; crunching under our feet, by thousands, the small blue crabs which issue from their holes in countless multitudes at low water . . . the waves the beach were full of mullet, and salmon, that seemed to swim among the breakers in search of prey.’ Clement Hodgkinson explored and surveyed this region from 1841-2.
Soldier crabs in formation
Soldier crabs in formation

A Black-capped Tern and a Silver Gull wheel overhead tempted and a pelican approached but the regiments remained untroubled by predators.

Pelican, Deep Creek
Pelican, Deep Creek
Soldier crab
Soldier crab

One juvenile corkscrews into the sand by my shoe but remains visible – a half-hearted attempt.

Soldier crab feeble burial
Soldier crab, feeble burial

On the other side, one has quickly disappeared into its cave.

crab vanished into cave
crab vanished into cave

Mictyris longicarpus have lungs, not gills. They sift through large amounts of sand to extract tiny algae and nematode eggs; the inedible material accumulates in sprays of small round pellets.

 

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