Video: Soldier Crab Hunted by Vicious Moon Snail From Underneath the Sand

Posted on August 1, 2011

Soldier crabs can often be seen running along Queensland's golden sandy beaches. There is a reason the crabs are running. Hiding underneath the sand is a vicious predator. The Australian endemic moon snail, Conuber sordidus, can surge up out of the sand and snatch the soldier crabs and devour them. The snails can even attack and kill crabs larger than themselves.

Dr Thomas Huelsken, from The University of Queensland's (UQ) School of Biological Sciences, captured the behavior on video for the first time. Huelsekn says, "Moon snails are well known for attacking other snails and bivalves and until now, moon snails have been thought to feed almost exclusively on shelled molluscs. This observation that they also prey on crabs is a total surprise. Moon snails have now secured their status as top predators of the intertidal sand flats."

Take a look:

The research was published in international journal Molluscan Research. The paper can be found online here (PDF).

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