Saturday, May 19, 2012

Piccies of the Day, Dancing Soldiers

At low tide on estuary sand flats, around much of the Oz coast, an army comes out.

Soldier crabs (Mictyris longicarpus) so called because they swarm in armies. But despite the fearsome name and swarms of them these guys are entirely innocuous. They come out of their burrows to filter the sand for tasty morsels.

The biggest, like this handsome fellow in the centre of this piccie, have a body  about the size of a plump cherry.

The most aggressive they get is to each other. That too is ritualised, they get up on their back legs spreading out their forelimbs. Then arm in arm they dance around each other. The smaller (the one with the shortest legs) then makes way for the larger.
 If they are evenly matched like this pair they push each other back and forth a time or two.  One decides to make way and it is over.


mshatch said...

I guess no walking in bare feet, eh?

Al said...

Actually bare feet are fine. These guys are small, and they just scuttle away from you. I think you would really struggle to find one that would want to bite.

Kristen M. said...


Linda G. said...

I'll settle for partial credit. I may not be right, precisely, but at least I wasn't wrong. *grin*

Carolyn V said...

That is so cool! A size of a cherry? I'd hate to get caught in the middle of them. ;)