Sand flea
Sand flea

Sand flea

The sand flea, is actually not one single animal but rather a name for a group of animals that share the traits of living on and around the beach. You might have seen tiny black dots hopping away from washed up seaweed when approached or even been hopped onto during an evening promenade on the beach, these are sand fleas and although they can differ a lot under a microscope they all look the same for us on the beach. If you come in contact with sand fleas, do not worry. They won’t infest you or your dog, they won’t follow you home and they will not infest your house. The sand flea can not do any of these things because they mostly are marine and would not survive on land for any extensive period of time.

Sand flea – Harmless crab
Although there are some that are parasitical you will not need to worry, the sand flea is neither after you nor your blood. Sometimes feeding of jellyfish and salps, the sand flea actually prefers organic debris and plant life. Very similar to crabs and shrimps in appearance and behaviour, the sand flea has suffered a terrible throughout the years believed to be pests and vermin. The sand flea is actually like any other marine animal, minding its own business, so do not try to exterminate or move them, they are only miniature harmless crabs.

Sand flea – Lifecycle
The female sand flea will lay eggs which she then carry with her like most shrimps. The eggs will be tended to by their mother on a regular basis but when they hatch, the young sand fleas are on their own. Hatched looking like small copies of their adult parents the sand flea has everything it will need to survive. During its lifetime the sand flea will moult multiple times growing bigger and bigger, at its eighth moult or so the sand flea will be sexually active and breed for new eggs.

Sand flea – Food for giants
The sand flea actually is not only living on the beach since most of them are marine. Deep going scientific submarines have found the sand flea to live more or less anywhere in the ocean and it is believed that they are a great source of nutrition for all the marine baleen animals out there, such as the whale. Baleen animals filter the ocean for food rather than actively hunting and eating it.

Sand flea – Bait, a different story
When the sand flea is referred to as bait people are actually talking a totally different animal, namely the mole crabs of the emerita genus. The mole crabs are actually quite often used as bait by recreational fishermen when surf fishing. It is quite easy to catch mole crabs but to get enough of them to be used when fishing will probably require a so called sand flea rake. These can be bought where you buy your other fishing equipment or in a well sorted fishing stores.

Sand flea Articles:

Sand flea bait


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