Ghost Crab| All You Need To Know

The Atlantic ghost crab is crustaceans with sand-colored white claws. Ghost crabs live on the Coastal beaches in the Chesapeake from spring to autumn.

They are named because of the shape and size of their body. Ghost Crabs can move amazingly quickly, and fewer legs enable them to move faster. They are decapods and use only eight legs for locomotion. While running faster, the first two pairs help them to walk more quickly.

Ghost crabs are semiterrestrial but lay eggs in water and feel the need to keep their gills moist. They can drown if they are living in water too. Ghost crabs can change their color, which saves them from predators.

To know more about Ghost crabs, you must read this article.

Ghost crab classification and scientific name:

Ghost crabs are related to the subfamily “Ocypodinae .”Ocypodinae derives from the Greek word “swift-footed,” which shows how surprisingly quickly this crab can scuttle over the sand. 



The Atlantic ghost crabs have a square-shaped and semi-translucent shell of about up to three inches. Male crabs are more prominent as compared to females. These crabs can change their color according to their surroundings.

Young ghost crabs are darker than adults, and their shell color is gray and brown. Some crab’s claws have ridges that help the animals to produce sounds. These crabs have ten legs; eight are walking and one pair of white feet. Their club-shaped eyestalk can rotate about 360 degrees.

Some species of ghost crabs have eyestalks like horns and stiles.


Ghost crabs are omnivores and eat insects, marine arthropods, filter feeders, and the hatchlings of loggerhead turtles. They also eat vegetables and detritus.

Ghost crabs Distribution, Population, and Habitat:

The population of ghost crabs was widely distributed in the world till 2021, but now it is decreasing because of climate changes and human activities. Ghost crabs live near warm water on the Coast of Florida, India, and worldwide. These semi-terrestrial crabs burrow in sand and are found in the zone between low and high ocean tides.

There are 21 species worldwide, but their habitat is disturbed due to human activities.

Reproduction and life cycle:

Ghost crabs are ready to mate after one year of birth and mate all over the year. But there are some species in which female crabs ovulate during spring and once more in summer.

There is a difference between ghost crabs and crabs species; the female ghost crab is enabled for mating when their shell gets harder after molting. Male crabs make sounds to attract females for mating and challenging other male crabs.

Fertilization is internal, and mating occurs near the male’s burrow. The sperms of males come in a fluid that solidifies and forms a plug in the female to ensure that a rival crab does not fertilize the eggs.

The female stores sperms until sperms fertilize the eggs. Until the female carries eggs, she is called berried. The eggs in the female body remain hydrated, and they swim upward for this purpose.

When the crab larvae hatched, the female oscillated in water. They are small in this phase, becoming part of the zooplankton and swimming across the oceanic tides.

The baby ghost crabs molt five times before reaching the megalopa stage. It stays in this phase for a month. If it survives after the first molt, it quits the sea for land. Their life span is about three years.

Can you eat ghost crabs

Can you eat ghost crabs?

Yes, ghost crabs are not poisonous and safe to eat. These crabs are small and may have a limited amount of meat. 

If you are catching them and want to eat them, you should ensure they are boiled for about 20 minutes because some parasites are present in them, which may be harmful.

Like other crabs, you should remove their shell before eating. When you have removed the outer layer, you should separate the claws from the body. Use crackers to reach the crab’s meat.

How can you cook ghost crabs safely?

When you buy ghost crabs;

  • The first step is cleaning.
  • Remove its outer shell.
  • Wash them carefully and clean all the dirty parts. 
  • When it looks clean, put them into the pot and boil them for 20 minutes. Time may increase or decrease depending on the number of crabs.

When they boil, you can eat them as you like. You can add seasoning flavors to enhance its taste.

Can ghost crabs swim?

Ghost crabs cannot swim because they are terrestrial. They can survive underwater and live for a limited time. If they remain in the water, they will be drowned. They move into the water to wet and fill the water and oxygen in their gills.

Surprising benefits of ghost crabs

Surprising benefits of ghost crabs:

Ghost crabs are edible and have remarkable effects on health. Some of these are;

Promotes healthy teeth and bone

As crabs have calcium and magnesium, they help develop healthy teeth and bones. It benefits children and adults and prevents osteomalacia and rickets. Their meat helps in bone development and makes them stronger.

Prevents cancer

Studies reveal that carbs meat prevents cancer because it contains selenium. Selenium is an antioxidant and clean carcinogenic material like arsenic and cadmium from the body responsible for cancer.

Manage blood sugar levels

Crabs meat is enriched with chromium, which helps to decrease insulin resistance. It minimizes the blood glucose level. Chromium allows the utilization of insulin and protects a man from diabetes.

Ideal for pregnant women

Nutritionists suggest that crab meat is ideal for pregnant women but in moderate quantity. It is a high source of vitamin B and omega-3 fatty acids, so it is recommended during pregnancy. 

Pregnant women can safely cook them and should remove parasites and bacteria that may harm a newborn baby.


Ghost crabs are tiny and beautiful creatures. Ghost crabs are present on the tropical beaches of the Atlantic and Indian oceans. They are easy to cook and delicious. But they do not have much meat in them. 

If you want to keep them as pets, it would be tough for you because they need to wet their gills. So it is good to leave them in the wild.

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