Audubon Asks…Did You Know?

Courtesy of Skidaway Audubon

Did you know those tiny fiddler crabs that scurry around the mucky marshes are essential parts of the coastal ecology? Not only do they chew up decayed marsh grasses like little vacuum cleaners, but they are also important links in the food chain. 

Fiddler crabs, barely two inches across, are food for many shorebirds, including whimbrels. Whimbrels migrate through Georgia, and the fiddler crab is their primary food source. Studies have shown these famished visitors can eat 16 fiddler crabs per minute. 

They are called fiddlers because they have a large claw that makes it look like they are holding a fiddle. Only males have the enlarged claw, which they use to attract a mate. In the day, fiddlers emerge from little holes in the mud called burrows, where they sleep at night. Some burrows can be two feet long! 

Skidaway Audubon’s Nature Notices campaign encourages Skidaway residents who remove trees to replace them with smaller understory trees, or groupings of native greenery, because when a tree is taken down, nature notices when its home and food source are destroyed. How does planting more trees help fiddler crabs and the birds that depend on them? Trees and other greenery produce oxygen and consume carbon dioxide. More trees are needed to help fight global warming and the associated rise in sea levels, a major threat to coastal habitats. For more detail about Nature Notices, visit

This article was originally published by The Landings Association on their website.

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