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Galapagos ghost crab

Galapagos ghost crab
© Caroline Joan Marmion

Common name:

Galapagos ghost crab / Painted ghost crab / Cart driver crab

Scientific name:

Ocypode gaudichaudii

Spanish name:

Cangrejo fantasma

Conservation status:

Least Concern


Average lifespan:

2 – 3 years

Average size:

10 centimetres


Ghost crabs are commonly found on tropical and subtropical sandy shores across the world. There are over 20 species of Ocypode around the world, two of which are in the Eastern Pacific (Ocypode occidentalis and Ocypode gaudichaudii). Ocypode gaudichaudii are found all along the eastern Pacific coast of Central and South America.  

They are small, red-orange crabs with sandy dots across the back of the carapace (hard upper shell). They have a box-like body, thick elongated eyestalks, and one claw is larger than the other in both males and females for feeding and digging their burrows. Their eyestalks allow them to see 360ᵒ to detect potential predators and prey. Their vision is so precise it allows them to grab insects out of the air. The only blind spot they have is directly overhead. The eyestalks are tipped with horn-like projections called styles.

Galapagos ghost crabs in Galapagos

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