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These Acrobatic Beach Hoppers Shred All Night Long | Deep Look Video

March 11, 2021

[Posted by Chuck Almdale. Thanks to Prof. Karen Martin of Pepperdine U. and Lu Plauzoles for this.]

As the sun sets, hordes of tiny crustaceans called beach hoppers –– also known as sand hoppers –– emerge from underground burrows to frolic and feast. They eat so much decaying seaweed and other beach wrack that by morning all that’s left are ghostly outlines in the sand.

[Note: Two of the things I learned from this video: why they deserve the name “hopper;” why Say’s and Black Phoebes spend so much time on the beach.]

NOTE – Link to how this film was made: Article on

Night falls, and the beaches come alive with sand hoppers – hungry, jumping shrimp-like creatures that look a lot like giant translucent fleas. No, it’s not a horror movie, and these animals “don’t bite or suck your blood. They’re much more than fleas,” says Jenny Dugan of the Marine Science Institute at UC Santa Barbara. Through her research on sandy beach ecology, Dugan has spent years developing a respect for beach hoppers and their under-appreciated ecological role.

The small crustaceans, sometimes as large as two inches, are remarkably in tune with the tides. The mature adult beach hoppers only emerge from their burrows at night when the tide is retreating – which is the best time to find fresh kelp, and less of a risk being seen by predators.

This is another installment of the PBS Deep Look series. If no film or link appears in this email, go to the blog to view it by clicking on the blog title above. If the film stops & starts in an annoying manner, press pause (lower left double bars ||) to let it buffer and get ahead of you.   [Chuck Almdale]


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