METHODS We compared the populations of sand crabs (Lepidopa benedicti, family Albuneidae) at two locations on the popular tourist destination South Padre Island: one which is reasonably developed, having many hotels and restaurants and one which is not so developed, at a more northern point on the island. At each site, 10 m transects were dug starting at the top of the swash zone (parallel to the surf). Each shovel of sand were carefully sifted. The carapace length, sex, color, and reproductive status of each sand crab found were recorded on site. Samples were collected regularly from August 2009 to present. Sample sizes vary among these measures because some crabs were damaged by the shovel, preventing size or sex from being measured.
DISCUSSION Preliminary results suggest that urban development is not affecting sand crab habitat. An alternative possibility is that while urban development at the two sites differs, that actual human traffic on the beach does not. Further information on actual beach usage will be helpful in interpreting these results.
Murph, Jessica H. and Faulkes, Zen, "Are beaches' suitability as sand crab habitat affected by human recreation?" (2010). Biology Faculty Publications and Presentations. 43.
Poster given at 113th annual meeting of Texas Academy of Science, Tarleton State University, Stephenville, Texas, 4-6 March 2010.