Sand Crab

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

sand crab a name which can be applied to any of the numerous species of crab which in any part of the world have a sandy beach as their habitat, but particularly applied in W. Africa to Ocypoda africana. This crab, whose carapace may measure 5 cm (2") across, lives in burrows in the sand, chiefly around the high-water mark. It excavates the burrow by moving sideways in the desired direction, pausing every now and then to whisk the excavated sand out of the opening, and sometimes to flatten the mound of sand thus produced outside. It emerges at night to forage for food. It is a very alert creature and a rapid runner, so not easily caught, but is in demand, especially for the red eggs which females may have on the underside of their carapace.