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Mole Crab (Sand Flea, Sand Crab)

Emerita talpoida


  • Small, oval-shaped crabs that are light brownish-gray in color
  • Five pairs of appendages or legs; first pair lacks claws; second pair is flattened and paddle-like; last three pairs are very short and pulled in close to the body
  • Tail is short and triangular used for digging
  • Two feathery antennae present underneath eyes
  • Filter-feeders

Similar Species

Other sand crabs


Up to 2 inches in length


Sandy beaches in the swash region of the intertidal zone.


Scavengers feeding on plankton and detritus. Burrows tail first into the sand along the swash zone and uses their antennae to filter feed.

Additional Information

They have a short lifespan of two to three years.

Recreational Regulations: Unregulated