This is the beast known as the common fiddler crab. And when I say common, I mean commoner than dishwater.
Notice how well he blends into his surroundings? Double click on the image to get a good look at his devilish grin and seething eyes.
These monsters live in our marshy areas, including around the shorelines of creeks, especially one creek in particular: Queens Creek. You rarely see them except at low tide, when they come out by the bazillions to lurk in the mud and make their little clickety clack noises as they gargle and gurgle and blow their tiny salt water bubbles. Personally, I think this irritating, insidious noise is their way of laughing at me. Believe me, they always get the last laugh.
The very special breed of fiddler crab which lives on my creek, in particular around my dock, is not satisfied with its natural habitat. No, they send out invitations to all their little fiddler crab friends, leave their moist, muddy environment and throw parties on my lawn.
One of their party games is Truth or Dare. The poor ones who opt for the dare are sent marching up out of their natural habitat directly inside my garage where they are instructed to lie in wait with the hopes of doing me in. When I stumble in the door looking for a tool among the many piles of junk where a tool might be tossed but never will be found, they attack and charge out from the darkness, their one hideous, out-of-proportion claw raised up as if flipping me the bird.
The other day when I was driving down the public landing near Haven Beach, the road was covered with these monsters, except they weren't as big as the one pictured here. They were either a different type of fiddler crab or they were immature ones. Or maybe they were runts. No matter, they assaulted me plain and simple.
Enough of my jabbering about these sinister creatures.
Here is what Chesapeakebay.net has to say about them (some of this is paraphrased) :
"Fiddler crabs are small,
....The red-jointed fiddler crab, Uca minax, is the most common and widespread fiddler crab in the Bay. Its carapace* grows to 1.5 inches wide and has a groove behind each eye. Its major claw grows to 2 inches long and has bright red joints. The marsh fiddler crab, Uca pugnax**, is the smallest fiddler crab in the Bay. Its carapace* grows to less than an inch wide and its major claw grows to 1.5
...Fiddler crabs are found in marshes and on sand flats throughout the Bay and its tributaries. They create tiny, sometimes elaborate burrows for mating, sleeping, refuge from predators and “hibernating” during winter.
Red-jointed fiddlers live in muddy areas in fresh to brackish water marshes. They dig burrows above the high-tide line, creating a mud ledge to shade the burrow's entrance.
Fiddlers are very active during the day, foraging for food and digging burrows. They return to their burrows at night and during high tide, plugging the entrance with mud or sand.****"
Chesapeake Bay Woman's
* Carapace is a typo. What they meant to say here instead was "ugly, ugly face."
** Uca pugnax is another typo - It should be "Ucreature repugnant."
***Yet another typo! Uca pugilator should read "Yousaterminator."
****Yes, they use mud, sand or the bodies of humans they have traumatized.