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Roger Riordan:Miscellaneous photos 1964

Crabs, and a lonely starfish.

Crabs seem to do much better in warmer climates, and are found in countless millions on every tropical beach. Most of these are ghost crabs, which live in holes in the sand, and pop up between waves, but disappear again at the slightest hint of danger. I think these were taken at Magnetic Island, but they could have been at almost any beach on the east coast of Australia. Two species are shown here -- the one on the right has periscopic extensions on its eyes so that it can bury itself with just the tips of its eyes above the sand to warn it of approaching danger.

If you get between one and its burrow, it will assume the defensive position shown in the third image, and if you then approache it, it will rear up ready to attack, as shown in next image.

There are also countless thousands of hermit crabs on tropical beaches, but they are mostly quite small and relatively inconspicuous. I think I found the spectacular specimen below on Woolami Beach on Phillip Island, but I have never seen another specimen.

The most attractive starfish was also found on a local beach.

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