Common shore crabs on Vancouver Island are usually pretty easy to identify. Colour isn’t always a good way to separate out the Green Shore Crab (Hemigrapsus oregonensis) from the Purple Shore Crab (Hemigrapsus nudus) since both have some variability in colouration. The more reliable way to tell the two apart is to look at the legs – Green Shore Crabs have noticeable hairs on their legs while Purple Shore Crabs tend to lack hairs (hence the nudus).
So what happens when you find a green coloured shore crab without hairs on its legs?
This crab was out in the middle of the sand at Miracle Beach Provincial Park – not a particularly safe place to be with all of the sea gulls and toddlers around. Horribly exposed, it was a long way from the shelter of the cobble beach where you’ll find both species of shore crabs readily. Just waiting for the tide to come in.
Green or Purple doesn’t really matter in this case – especially when survival is at stake. I hope it managed to find a place to hide until the tide turned.