This ferocious looking creature is a male fiddler crab, so named because one of the male’s two claws is huge (used to impress the ladies, and intimidate other males). The name “fiddler” comes from the way the males feed. The crab uses the smaller claw to eat, moving food from the ground to his mouth. It is said the motion resembles someone moving a bow across a fiddle (the larger claw). If a big claw is lost, a small one replaces it. These crabs dine on algae and other organic material. They also dig tunnels in the mud or sand, and are comfortable both in and out of water.
Though the crab in the photo above looks huge, he is only about two inches across. Can you find him in the photo at the right? It was taken looking down. Look just a tad off center; you’re looking for the inverted “V” of his claw.
I didn’t get to spend much time on the peninsula tonight, and the rain has definitely cramped my style. (I’m not complaining, mine you. After the drought of two years ago I have only respect for the rain.) What I mean by “cramping my style” is that access to certain areas of the peninsula is impossible following the rains. The ground is just too soft (read: muddy.) There is a paved path that goes half way around the perimeter; it runs close to the water. But there are also other unpaved paths that blaze trails across the middle of the coastal prairie/marsh. I enjoyed taking those paths as well, because you sometimes find interesting activity. But after all the recent rain, it’s not advisable — unless you want to be knee-deep in mud. I know, found out the hard way (as usual).