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Field and Swamp: Animals and Their Habitats

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Crustaceans (subphylum Crustacea, phylum Arthropoda)

Crayfish (suborder Dendrobranchiata, order Decapoda, superorder Eucarida, subclass Eumalacostraca, class Malacostraca)

Stream crayfish, Durham, 5/13/05.  This inch-long crayfish appeared in a stream in my neighborhood exiting from a drainage ditch.  Note that it's pushed its tail into the sand so it's not quite visible.  The long antennae have been cropped. Pond crayfish, Durham, 7/2/05.  This crayfish was lying at the bottom of a drainage ditch, so it took some image enhancement to bring out the details.  It appeared to be several inches long. This small crayfish (about an inch long), a water strider, veliid bugs and other miscellaneous arthropods appeared in a small puddle, about one foot long, left behind when a drainage ditch dried up during what appears to be yet another drought here.  Durham, NC, 8/11/08 This half-inch long crayfish appeared in a puddle left over from a dried-up drainage ditch.  This image has been enhanced.  Durham, 10/3/05. Crayfish, after skirmish with turtle.  Durham, NC, 4/27/11 Drainage ditch crayfish, Durham, 5/28/06

 

Crayfish holes, Durham, 3/26/07.  These were located on both sides of a stream leading to the drainage ditch in which the above crayfish were found.  Crayfish created these after a long dry spell this spring.

Crabs (suborder Pleocyemata, order Decapoda, superorder Eucarida, subclass Eumalacostraca, class Malacostraca)

Ghost Crabs (Ocypode quadrata)

(Maybe juvenile) Ghost Crab (Ocypode quadrata). Great camouflage! When I first spotted it on an Ocracoke beach on 5/16/05, I thought it was covered with sand.  Thanks to Garrett Herth for ID. Ghost Crab, Ft. Fisher, New Hanover County, NC, 10/20/05.  Possibly another juvenile. Adult Ghost Crab, Ocracoke, 5/9/04. Ghost Crab, Ocracoke, 5/11/06

Sand Fiddler Crabs (Uca pugliator)

         
Male Sand Fiddler Crab (Uca pugilator), Ft. Fisher Basin Trail, New Hanover County, NC, 10/15/09 Sand Fiddler Crab (Uca pugilator), Ft. Fisher (Battery Buchanan), New Hanover County, NC, 10/15/09 Male Sand Fiddler Crab, Ft. Fisher, Battery Buchanan Tour Stop, New Hanover County, NC, 5/24/11  Male Sand Fiddler Crabs (including the one on the left): they competed for a crab hole, and the one on the right won.  Sand Fiddler crabs, Theodore Roosevelt Natural Area, Pine Knoll Shores, NC, 7/23/08.           

         
Immature Sand Fiddler (Uca pugilator) starting to enter a hole (already occupied by a mature one)          

Brackish-water Fiddler Crabs (Uca minax)

       
Male Brackish-water Fiddler, Ocracoke, Hyde County, NC, 5/11/06.  Only Ocracoke fiddler crabs are this bold. Female Brackish-water Fiddler Crab (Uca minax), Ft. Fisher Basin Trail, New Hanover County, NC, 8/29/12 Male Brackish-water Fiddler Crab (Uca minax), Ft. Fisher Basin Trail, New Hanover County, NC, 8/29/12 Female Brackish-water Fiddler (Uca minax) Bay St. Louis, Hanocock County, MS, 9/4/03. Thanks to Garrett Herth for ID. Brackish-water Fiddler Crabs  on the Bogue Sound side of Atlantic Beach, NC, 3/22/05.         

Blue Crab (Callinectes Sapidus)

         
Blue Crab, in a drainage ditch in Diamondhead, MS, on 10/17/10          

Wharf Crabs (Sesarma cinereum)

Wharf Crab, Ft. Fisher (Battery Buchanan Tour Stop), New Hanover County, NC, 5/23/11  Another Wharf Crab at Ft. Fisher (Battery Buchanan Tour Stop), New Hanover County, NC, 5/23/11   Wharf Crab (Sesarma cinereum)Carolina Beach State Park, New Hanover County, NC, 12/12/05. Thanks to Garrett Herth for ID. Wharf Crab, Ocracoke, 6/13/02. Probably female.  Thanks to Garrett Herth for ID. Wharf crab, Fort Fisher Recreational Area, New Hanover County, NC, 9/28/10

Hermit Crab

Land hermit crab, near Loza, Puerto Rico, 1/10/05.  I saw this small animal on land, in a karst forest near the beach.

Beach Fleas (family Talitridae, order Amphipoda, superorder Peracarida, subclass Eumalacostraca, class Malacostraca)

Beach fleas look like small shrimp except for the placement of their unusual legs and move very much the way springtails do, taking rapid leaps several times their lengths, until they (very quickly) find cover.   In fact, springtails are found in the same places, moving in a similar manner.  Adult beach fleas are about 20 mm long.  Taxonomic info from Woods Hole Marine Lab Beach Flea Page.

Beach Flea (maybe Orchestia genus), Snow's Cut Park, New Hanover County, NC, 3/8/09.  This little critter was hopping all over the Cape Fear River shore and was just about to hide under a log when I took this photo. 

Pillbugs (order Isopoda, superorder Pericarida, subclass Eumalacostraca, class Malacostraca)

 
Pillbug (Armadillidium vulgare, Armadilliidae family), Durham, NC, 3/9/11 Pillbugs, Durham, NC, 5/14/11 Common Pillbug, Duke Forest, Korstian Division, Orange County, NC, 6/11/06.   

Rock Slaters (Ligia genus, Ligiidae family, Ligiamorpha infraorder, Oniscidea suborder, Isopoda order)

These crustaceans live among rocks on beaches, living on dead organic matter and algae.

         
Rock Slater (Ligia exotica), a kind of crustacean.  This one had wandered just off the sand.  Ft. Fisher Recreational Area, New Hanover County, NC, 3/10/10 Another view of the same rock slater showing the characteristic forked rear appendages, i.e., the uropod, exopods and endopods before I put it on the beach where it belonged.   Ft. Fisher Recreational Area, New Hanover County, NC, 3/10/10          

REFERENCE

Fox, R. (2001) Ligia exotica, Invertebrate Anatomy Online.  Retrieved January 9, 2011 from http://webs.lander.edu/rsfox/invertebrates/ligia.html

Barnacles (class Maxillopoda, infraclass Cirripedia)

Pelagic Goose Barnacles (Lepas anserifera, family Lepadidae, suborder Lepadomorpha, order Pedunculata, superorder Thoracica), found on a piece of driftwood at Ft. Fisher beach, New Hanover County, NC, on 10/20/05.  These are pelagic barnacles most often seen when they're washed up on beaches.  Genus name provided by Garrett Herth. 

 

Copyright 2005-2011 by Dorothy E. Pugh

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