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.

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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