Mole crab

Lepidopa benedicti

Family Albuneidae - Mole crab

Distinguishing
Characteristics
Carapace squarish, 2 pair lateral spines near anterior margin, front margin with 3 small points, posterior margin with small arc in center; color gray to white, translucent; eye stalks broad, flat, squarish with rounded margins, small teeth on anterior margins, distinct eyespot on notches on lateral margins near the anterior (distal) end; 1 pair of long antennae; 1st pair of legs with sickle-like appendage at tip that fold back onto next segment (like a half claw); terminal segment of other legs arc or sickle-shaped; abdomen short, flexed under body, middle segment of tail fan (the telson) is heart-shaped; small hairs on margins of carapace, abdomen and legs.
Similar Species
The eyestalks of L. websteri are more oval and have lateral notches and tiny eyespots near the posterior (proximal) end of the eyestalks . Mole crabs of the species Albunea have narrow, triangular eyestalks.
Habitat
Gulf beaches, live in burrows in the intertidal zone and nearshore waters
Maximum Size
2.5 cm (1 in) carapace length
Other Common Names
sand crab
Previous Scientific Names
Comments
Photos courtesy of Ashley Wiseman, TAMUG student.