Underneath my feet

Walking along a beach on a calm day, snagging bits of trash—mostly straws, bottle caps, and broken fragments of hard plastic—something scuttled near my feet.

I leaned over and saw what looked like the love child of a roly-poly and a gray shrimp. Its face was buried in the shattered shell of some deceased invertebrate. It looked utterly unfamiliar.

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Photo by author, 2017

Thanks to iNaturalist’s dedicated volunteers, my photo upload was quickly identified as an Atlantic sand crab, a rather common invertebrate that I’d simply never noticed. Even crowded beaches hold surprises.

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