A few days ago we were sent pictures of what looked like baby lobsters or mantis shrimp… From … Tommy Lindsay …. “Lewes beach in front of Roosevelt Inlet was full of live baby “lobsters or crawfish or?? not really sure, that were washed up and now stranded. Ever see this before ? We moved tons back into water not sure if it will help. We have never seen this before, you?” It was suggested to him online to send the pictures to the DSF guys. We asked Associate Professor Dewayne Fox of DSU to ID these creatures found on Lewes Beach ….
“I am not sure on the Latin names for our local species but those look very much like (I would bet a beer) the estuarine ghost shrimps that you see in the Gulf and Pacific. They build long burrows with really cool/elaborate chambers and often have commensal species (e.g. crabs/other shrimps) that live with them in their burrows. On the west coast they are considered prime surf fishing bait for perch, croakers, and striped bass (introduced back many years ago). We know that sturgeon love to suck them up in the bays as well. In talking to my colleagues with DNREC they do occur in DE Bay but not much is known about them.”
So far we have had a debate for 3 days on our Facebook page as the ID of these creatures. They are being dubbed baby lobsters, mantis shrimp, and even this response … Molitar shrimp is what the old timers called them .found them frequently in bass’s stomachs up in Massachusetts. Theses may be different hard to tell they were always orange i always thought baby lobster until i got schooled by old an long liner. If anyone has anything to contribute get into the debate on DSF’s Facebook page or send us an email, use the contact link in the upper right corner of your screen. The general consensus is they would make fantastic bait, that is a point no one has argued.
We also had reports and pictures sent to DSF of other interesting things found in people’s yards, like a squid in Bethany beach. I found a lot of small minnows all over broadkill beach. There are starfish and conch shells everywhere. Crabs and baitfish in the streets, and my backyard. Hurricane Sandy really stirred up the bottom, the metal detector enthusiasts are in heaven right now with anticipation. Yesterday I was at Cape Henlopen and saw a sea gull sitting in the flotsam and jetsam washed onto the beach near the fishing pier. She just sat there didn’t care how close I got, I took her picture and called the bird folks and alerted them as well. I hope they had the time to go help this bird, or she came around on her own, after all they can be some tough birds. Just try to fight over bait with them.