Horn-eyed ghost crab - Ocypode sp.

Ghost crabs

Infra-order Brachyura, Family Ocypodidae

The name “ghost crab” originates from the crabs’ general nocturnal habits and their pale coloration. Pale colors offer them excellent camouflage against the sand of the beach on which they live, and when disturbed they will dart quickly down into a burrow, into the sea, or dig themselves rapidly into the beach sand, and they disappear from sight as if by magic.



The scientific name Ocypode is derived from the Latin ocy–(“fast”) and podos–(“foot”), in reference to their ability to move with speed over the ground.

About 20 species of ghost crabs are known from tropical and sub-tropical regions. It has only recently been confirmed that five species of ghost crabs are found on Christmas Island. A remarkable fact is that all these five species have been found at the small and isolated Greta Beach on the east coast of the island.

Read more about Christmas Island's ghost crabs in the book

"Crabs of Christmas Island" by Max Orchard

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Images by Max Orchard unless indicated otherwise