Prior to knowing anything about Emerita analoga (sand crab), I personally was unaware of anything so tiny and in fact microscopic for the first part of life to be a) so fascinating, and b) playing an important role in our eco-system/marine life.
Besides the information from my lab experiment using the Scientific Method and ample observation, I still found myself questioning more the ‘why’ of sand crabs and their relation(s) to the eco-system/marine life in either a positive or negative fashion. Also, what their day to day existence consists of and how they go about existing in the ocean being such a small (in size) specie.
E. analoga is a filter-feeding crustacean that dwells in the swash zone of sandy beaches in moderate climates along the western coasts of North and South America. Their geographic range spans from Alaska to Baja California in addition to a few other locations.
When not feeding, they burrow (rather rapidly) completely underneath the sand or swim in short spans to new locations. As the swash zone moves up and down the beach with the tide, so do the E. analoga. As inhabitants of the swash zone where water is generally muddy, the crabs filter feed or strain their food by uncoiling their feather like antennas, feasting on small organisms and tiny particles of plant material like plankton. E. analoga burry themselves to avoid dominate predators such as seagulls or fish. Fisherman also use them for bait but so far not to the extent to put the specie in danger.
Unlike other crabs that move forward, backward and sideways, E. analoga only move backwards, a rather interesting fact. Furthermore, laboratories use sand crabs in neurological studies strictly because E. analoga tails have the largest sensory neurons found in any animal. Perhaps one day, neuroscientist will have various research to help expand, explain or cure neurological disorders. This alone is rather profound given E.