Summer is the perfect time to show off your carefree spirit and whimsical beach-walking vibe. And like any summer girl wandering barefoot across the sand this July and August, you’ll definitely step on several crustaceans on your journey. Talk about beach bums! Here’s a list of the five crusties you’re sure to step on. Crunch crunch!
1. Horseshoe Crab
As you skip across the sand without a care in the world, your freshly painted toes will inevitably slip upon the unsuspecting spiny back of a horseshoe crab, noted for its hard outer carapace and lateral eyes that are easily and adorably crushed under your feet. They’re known as living fossils for a reason; millions of years of evolution led them to their untimely demise under your perfect little feet!
2. Maine Lobster
So you thought you were tough, and decided to wade deep into the New England waves, bitter chill be damned? Well, that light touch against your foot isn’t some seaweed. It’s the antennae of noble sea dweller Homarus americanus, otherwise known as the Maine Lobster. As you step upon its many legs, think about the fact that lobsters have two bladders on either side of their heads, and do your best to avoid its delicious little pincers! Oh, you be steppin’!
3. Goose Barnacle
In the past, you would have trod upon a barnacle without even realizing it was a crustacean! Rest assured, when your cute little foot makes contact with this briny surface covered in barnacles, there is a small shrimp-like creature in each of those mounds of hardened substrate. Give those crunchy snowflakes the names they deserve as you put your feet all over them—Justine, Charles, Harold, and Hope.
4. Sand Flea
These little crabs are so tiny that you won’t notice that you and your tanned lover have been stomping on them for the entirety of your romantic stroll. As you and Stavros discuss your conflicting ambitions and realize that your romance will wilt with the leaves on the trees, hundreds of little members of the genus Emeria are waving their feeding antennae in agony, the life crushed out of their barrel-like bodies. Beach fun!
5. Fiddler Crab
Make sure to step on one of these classic crabs before summer 2015 draws to a close. Notice the large asymmetrical claw which the male that has aggressively clamped around your pinky toe. As you scream, “It’s on me, it’s on me!” marvel at its strength—that claw is typically used to dig and signal courtship. As Uca pugnax finally detaches from your toe and flies into the crushing waves, pay some attention to its smaller claw, which picks up sediment from the ocean floor with a sawing motion that beget its name. Haute!
This summer, you own this beach, if you’re not including the crunchy creatures that make the coast their home. Slather on some sunscreen, take off your shoes, and sacrifice some wildlife with each bloody step!