Striped Shore Crab

Pachygrapsus crassipes

This lively reddish-purple crab can be seen along the mudflats, where it comes to feed. It may shovel algae into its mouth by the clawful, or scavenge for bits of carrion. Like little sanitation trucks, crabs collect the remains of dead plants and animals, cleaning the ecosystem as they forage. The Striped shore crab is sometimes thought to have been introduced from Asia, but in fact, it’s a North American native.

Fun Fact:
This shore crab can survive out of water as its gills begin to dry out—until it goes for a swim to moisten them.

What’s for Lunch:
Algae, smaller invertebrates, and dead animals

Where’s Home:
Under rocks and in crevices