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Plants and Animals

Watch Tiny Ball-Loving Sand Bubbler Crabs Create Igloos Out Of Sand

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People are big on the ball. From football to meatballs we can’t get enough and as it turns out, sand bubbles can crab. Across the tropical Indo-Pacific beach where these curious critics are common, it is not surprising for locals to find low tides descending and finding sand with the help of small balls of sand. Finding their millions of people, these tiny balls are facilitated by the unique feeding technique of sand bubbler crabs, and the process behind it is facilitated by the adaptations that these crab expert sand lifting machines present.

Sand bubbler crabs belong to the family Dotillidae, from the genus Scopimera and Dotilla genus, which are 59 species of crabs. Sand bubbles are notable for their unique mouthpieces, which they have created as expert sand crushers. They collect sand from inside a small old man and drive it out of their mouths, using water from their bodies to make a ball of rejected sand. As the sand processes, the crab filters out small bits of organic matter and tiny organisms that live in the sand. The video below displays some microscopic but striking microorganisms on the sand bubble menu, with switching comments for your word.

It becomes easy to make sand balls when you are having fun delicious crabs all over the beach frequently by hungry birds. Although their calcified exoskeleton is well camouflaged, they can be spotted even after their balls have rotated and so a simple exit strategy is vital for survival. As such, they work in a pattern that may resemble a star or spiral; any clear runway should go to any skeptical character returning to their central old age. This is another example of the result of evolution in the patterns of nature that look like they were created by an artist but in reality just a happy accident.

Making sand spitballs is a thirsty job, but sand bubbles have developed special legs that help them maintain water levels and breathe when their mouthpieces are busy. The tops of their legs are enclosed with “gas windows” that allow air to breathe, while the crab’s legs suck water from the sand while walking and keep plenty of stock with wet stuff to float the sand balls.

Sand bubbles rush for the length of the low tide, but as soon as the water starts coming again they can find a suitable place to hunt. Here, they dig a shallow old man on top of which they build a dome-like structure. The hidden hole, which eventually resembles a sand igloo, is sealed with wet sand so that crabs remain in air bubbles during high tides. When the tide comes out again the crabs come out of their domes and it’s time to roll again.