Wildlife : Sand Bubbler Crab

Post Number: 428

Port Douglas


Name: Sand Bubbler Crab

Scientific Subfamily: Scopimera inflata

Distribution:  tropical beaches


If you ever find yourself walking along a beach and you see little sand balls arranged in pretty patterns, then you are in the vicinity of a sand bubbler.


Sand Bubbler Crab - Port Douglas


These tiny little crabs are around 1cm wide across the carapace, and live in little burrows in the sand.  Those little balls you see are a byproduct of their dinner.  Once the high tide is over, they spend a few hours digging themselves out of their collapsed burrow and clean it up before feeding time starts.  They use their claws to scoop sand towards their mouth and once all the nutrients have been sucked away, the sand balls are discarded about 20-30cm away from the burrow’s entrance.  This is repeated until there is a beautiful pattern of balls around the burrow.


Sand Bubbler Crab - Port Douglas


Our Encounter:

The first time we saw these little beach balls was in Broome.  We were absolutely fascinated by the little works of art. We didn’t see them again until we got to Cape Tribulation on the east coast.


Cable Beach
Cable Beach

One thought on Wildlife : Sand Bubbler Crab

  1. doug on said:

    first time hearing of the sand bubbler crab &interesting story

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