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Soldier Crabs

Soldier Crabs
Photo Information
Copyright: Chris Chafer (sandpiper2) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1906 W: 107 N: 4875] (16757)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2005-02-19
Categories: Crustacia
Camera: Fujifilm Finepix S5000, Fujinon 10X zoom
Exposure: f/8, 1/849 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): 50 - 60 points (chapter two), Invertebrates & Fungi of the Sydney region., Brachyura [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2005-03-19 5:38
Viewed: 18666
Points: 80
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
In the sandy estuaries of southern Australia, when the tide goes out, hoards of Soldier Crab (Mictyris longicarpus) emerge from their sandy burrows to ‘march’ across the tidal flats. Their ‘armies’ can range from a dozen individuals to thousands, moving over the sand flats like an undulating blue carpet.
They are fascinating creatures to watch, as they swarm over the flats. Systematically, they pick up parcels of sand that are placed into their large and complex mouth-parts. The sand parcel is revolved around the mouth-parts where small pieces of organic matter are extracted and consumed, the sand-pellet is then dropped and the crab picks up another parcel of sand and the process is repeated. It is interesting to note that these crabs move forward on their stilt-like legs, not sideways like most crabs.
When disturbed, the crabs burrow sideways directly into the sand, a process that takes less than two seconds. Its bizarre to sit on a sand flat and watch a hundred crabs just disappear into the sand, then a couple of minutes later, they just pop up out of the sand and carry on feeding, a great anti-predator defence.
These ones were taken at the mouth of the Clyde River in Batemans Bay, their almost spherical bodies are around 50mm diameter. Cropped, levels adjusted, 80%USM and resized for TN.

dew77, sAner, wideload, marhowie, carper, pgmoni, sergegagne, gpepp, Signal-Womb, TAZ, Runnerduck, gerhardt, liquidsunshine, danbachmann, Callie, manyee, bartove, wgreis, Comandante, rkyobo, tiobibi, jmp has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To extramundi: the armysandpiper2 1 04-28 18:44
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • dew77 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4432 W: 248 N: 4028] (13270)
  • [2005-03-19 5:47]

Good captured shot on the sand! Marvellous colors. Your note describes their behaviour very well...TFS

wow interesting colours and a good note. I like the POV.

good clear shot I like the colors of these crabs. Reading your note about how they eat reminds me why I don't eat crabs they just eat dirt:)TFS

Good detail and colour with nicely controlled exposure especially on the wet sand, very nice Chris and thanks for sharing.

Well done on this composition. The details are great. TFS.


Chris, Great shot. I agree that they are fascinating creatures. You've shown them well here with the different perspectives in the frame. Great note, Thanx!

Looks like something out of "Starwars"! By showing us a line of these crabs, rather than just a close up of one of them, you've demonstrated the reason that they have been called "soldier crabs".

wauw 4 on a roll great one Chris,
very good capture thats a fact, the composition is nice,the note is good and the job is well done, good job. Gr. Jaap

Very fascinating indeed, your soldiers, Chris! Very good composition, colors and DOF. And a very interesting, instructive note. Good work! TFS

  • Great 
  • pgmoni Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 343 W: 100 N: 637] (2769)
  • [2005-03-19 12:01]

Surprising creatures indeed, adn the photo is almost perfect. Great picture!

  • Great 
  • Toni Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 403 W: 2 N: 316] (2034)
  • [2005-03-19 12:52]

C'est genial . magnifique photo, et trés belle composition, très bon choix de cadre.
Amicalement Toni.

Good shot, very intersting. Surprising colours.
Well done.

  • Great 
  • gpepp Silver Note Writer [C: 8 W: 0 N: 26] (97)
  • [2005-03-19 16:40]

Great composition, everything is perfect (the note too).

Very nice capture Chris, compo, POV and details very good, nice job.

  • Great 
  • TAZ Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2241 W: 47 N: 3167] (10926)
  • [2005-03-20 2:16]

Très jolie et originale composition photgraphique pour ces étonnants crabes.
Well done !

  • Great 
  • sAner Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1455 W: 74 N: 1426] (4750)
  • [2005-03-20 4:06]

Fantastic composition and razorsharp details. I really like the diagonal line these little crabs form. Fantastic colors! You did well Chris. What a wonderful picture. TFS!

A fantastic shot, great composition. You were lucky to get so close.
Their colours are great. Well done.

Your subjects are always so interesting, Chris. Nice shot, well composed with a good handle on the exposure. Well done.

Nice shot Chris,
Good composition and exposure on this shot.
The details are nice and sharp and the colours are great.
Nice job, thanks for posting

Fantastic photo Chris, very good composition, great colours & sharpness i like it !

Happy Easter !

  • Great 
  • livios Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2150 W: 319 N: 4263] (16942)
  • [2005-03-28 22:39]

Chris, a very nice title, a very nice composition.

Great lighting, excellent sharpness and composition.

  • Great 
  • Callie Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1101 W: 95 N: 2610] (7555)
  • [2005-03-30 13:44]

Hi Chris
We have similar spider crabs, behaviour must be much the same. Like your post and note a lot, nice compo and colours, especially the small one front left, in a boxing stance.

Great picture, Chris. I like very much the placement of this 4 into the photo. At first I thought it was a photocomposition with the same one :D
I would love to see the scane you describe of an army of this ones dissapearing into the sand. Must be wonderful. thanks for sharing.

  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2005-05-05 20:26]

This is an fantastic shot, Chris. The composition is excellent. The details are so sharp, and the exposure is right on. Just super!

Great shot capturing the detail of the crabs from all angles as you caught several of them in a variety of poses. They are fascinating to watch!!

Very fascinating indeed, good shot, very intersting.

Hi Chris,
your crabs is more beautiful than mine. I like your contrast. The water over the sand just take an special image.

I like this photo, because nowdays is dificult to see one crab. Imagine a lot of it.

Great composition!


Bonjour Chris,
Superbe photo, trés nette et de belles couleures et amusante cette compagnie de crabes.
Amicalement Jean-marie

Hi Chris

Good capture
Nice color
Very nice


  • Great 
  • cosci Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor [C: 14 W: 15 N: 3] (110)
  • [2005-08-23 7:52]

What a image ...
I like this a lot .

  • Great 
  • radz Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 598 W: 11 N: 72] (436)
  • [2005-08-24 8:58]

Beautiful!!!!!!!!!!!Colours&composition is very nice.I never known crab were so pretty&colourful.Good DOF&POV is perfect.TFS.

Excellent shot! So clear they look absolutely real, rather than an image on the screen. Very nice composition and long, thin crop as well.

  • Great 
  • ryyck Silver Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 24 W: 0 N: 176] (994)
  • [2005-09-13 16:11]

Excelente composição!

Really an interesting shot!
The subject is particular!
Bye Tom

I remember these guys when i was trekking in Hinchinbrooke island Thorsborne Trail. What a pitty I did not have good equipment this time. I like this photo very much. Good diagonal composition and good quality.

Hi Chris, very nice photo! Perfect composition, detail and colour.

Thans for sharing

  • Great 
  • jmp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1659 W: 95 N: 2273] (8415)
  • [2006-04-20 15:57]

Hi Chirs,
Great shot of this beautiful creature. TFS.
José M.

I like the crop and framing of this shot takes the eye from left to right through the diagonals. Interesting subject never seen before.

  • Great 
  • btokaz (34)
  • [2006-06-29 9:30]

Oh this is perfect! Great scene!

Hi Chris,
Graet shot, I like the line made by this colourful crabs; with these hand weapons surely they can go to the war!
Good job

Hello Chris,
Excellent shot, looks like as all Australians who very much love outdoors these soilders crab family is enjoying.
its amazing how fast these can dissappear in the sands.

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