We regularly post short Marine Wildlife Videos an Photographs with a short explanation regarding the subject and the technique used to capture the image.

All videos are made by Olivier Van den Broeck using Light & Motion video lights

and all photographs are by Greet Meulepas unless stated otherwise.

172. An orchestra of East African Fiddler Crabs (Cranuca occidentalis)

Subject: A mudflat at low tide exposes an orchestra of small East African Fiddler Crabs (Cranuca occidentalis). These little detritovores (animals that feed on detritus) play an important role in keeping wetlands, marches and mangrove ecosystems healthy. By sifting through the sediment in search for food and by digging their burrows they clean their habitat from detritus and aerate the substrate. They also form a big food source for marine birds such as egrets and herons.

Technique: It was quite a challenge to film these little crabs (they were a mere centimeter/ 0,4 inch) . I had to lie down on the mudflat, trying to make myself as still as possible peeking through my viewfinder. At the slightest movement of my arm, my head or the camera they disappeared with lightning-fast speed into their burrows (sometimes called “chimneys”) only to reemerge many minutes later. It took a whole morning of filming to get less than 2 minutes of good quality footage.