Travel Theme: Inviting

By Vladimir Brezina

Landed on Sandy HookPaddling out from Manhattan for the day, we often find ourselves heading south to Sandy Hook, NJ. Our favorite spot to land there, about half-way down the bay side, is a picturesque little “island” of wooded high ground that rather improbably rises above the otherwise flat Sandy Hook View over the salt marshlandscape. (Indeed, it is man-made, being the overgrown concrete ruins of an early 20th-century military installation, Battery Arrowsmith.) Separating the “island” from the “mainland” of Sandy Hook is a salt marsh.

Whenever we land at the “island”, we always take a few minutes to walk round to the back, to the edge of the salt marsh.  We go there to observe a mass display of invitation.

The marsh is fringed by a zone of bare, or sometimes sparsely overgrown, ground. Looking down closely, we see that the ground is studded with holes, large and small.

Field of holes

At first, standing there, we see nothing remarkable.

But within a minute or two, we glimpse, here and there, a furtive movement. Then more and more, and soon there is movement all around—movement of a curiously stereotyped sort.

Each hole is occupied by a fiddler crab.

Two fiddler crabs
Fiddler crab emerging

There are both male and female crabs. They are easy to distinguish—the males have one greatly enlarged claw. And they use this claw in a characteristic courtship display. They stand next to their holes and repeatedly raise their large claws, inviting the females to enter.

It is quite a sight to see the whole area come alive with hundreds of crabs all raising their claws simultaneously in their inviting gesture…

(A contribution to Ailsa’s travel-themed photo challenge, Inviting.)

19 responses to “Travel Theme: Inviting

  1. He was so menacing..or not ! I loved it !

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  2. Wow, what a sight….and that looks like samphire growing wild. Yum, yum!

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  3. That sounds both hilarious and oddly touching :-)

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    • Johna Till Johnson

      It is, both. The fiddler crabs are saying, in effect, “C’mere baby, here here, no over HERE!!!”.

      Interestingly, there are leftie and rightie crabs… and the ones on Sandy Hook, at least, come in different shades of pink and blue (I’m talking about the males). You can find yourself absorbed for hours as you watch them…

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  4. Wow, this was really amazing. I wonder if the females stand around watching saying to each other “whoa look at the claw on that one!”

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  5. Oh, haha! Marilyn and Cate voiced my thoughts exactly. Johna, did you at least whisper, “Maybe next time, cutie”?

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  6. When he was waving and no one came, that means there were no takers? This is an interesting bit of information.

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  7. What an amazing sight to see!

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  8. I think this gives new meaning to the term “fiddling about”.

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