The Ghost Shrimp (Neotrypaea californiensis), or Camarón excavador in Spanish, survives without oxygen for up to six days if its burrow is blocked. They tunnel extensively, finding bits of food as they shift the sandy sediments, feeding mostly on plankton (microscopic plants, animals, bacteria), and detritus (dead or decaying plants and animals). Ghost shrimp are not completely safe as they are hunted by fish and shorebirds. In addition, sport fishermen use them as bait.
Living in burrows with connected openings, they reside in salty intertidal zones and muddy sand. They are translucent white with visibly colored internal organs, usually pink, orange, or yellow. Male ghost shrimp have larger bodies and claws than females.
To learn more about this marine invertebrate, visit the Monterey Bay Aquarium.
PHOTO CREDIT: Tracy D. Clark