The Radial Foranger Patterns and Memory Networks of the Sand Bubbler Crabs

Sand Bubbler Crab Patterns - Chris Gannon
Sand Bubbler Crab Patterns – Chris Gannon

While a lot of attention is given to primates, elephants and even members of the canine group, in respect to ‘art’ created by animals, the tiny Sand Bubbler Crab could be the unseen hero of the process art category. It creates various kinds of organised patterns with radial symmetries and branching structures in the sand, the result of food foraging activities.

Naturally there is no interfacing with tools such as paintbrushes but the species Dotilla Fenestrate does create circle packing patterns and emergent aggregations that may well interest the algorithmic artisan. During low tide these crabs emerge from their holes to find food. They sift the sand and extract food from it then leave behind little spheres of processed sand creating a memory network to indicate where food has already been extracted. Environmental factors, such the local tidal system, as well as predatorial variables act as is a parameters in this system to effects the final configurations of the patterns generated.

Marquisde has created a Flickr gallery of Sand Bubbler Crab artworks and Stretta has uploaded a HD video of one of these little wonders busy at work.

2 Responses to “The Radial Foranger Patterns and Memory Networks of the Sand Bubbler Crabs”

  1. ahmad writes:

    I just saw them myself a few week ago. Happy to encounter yor remarks and the images of crab artworks. Very nice observation and documentation!

  2. NITIPAT writes:


    I am the Architecture student from Thailand .

    I am doing design project about the Biomimicry
    I choose the pattern of the crab burrows .
    1. I really want to know why they have to provide space between ring
    2.These space have parameter ? Is there any kind of number that link between the ring and the size of crab or what ever ? or They just do it
    3. What is different between ring pattern and line

    Ps. I have to design the university that inspire from the animal by doing “Rhinoceros Grasshopper program”

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