Oriental Hornets attack Ghost Crab in Oman

Air attack by hornets on crab
In Oman recently, observed some hornets attacking a crab which was defending a piece of discarded food on the beach. Three hornets ended up attacking together from different directions. The crab just swiped at them with its big claw. The hornets gave up in the end. Hope the pictures are of interest.
John Jackson

Hi John,
Wow, what action photos you have sent us. These are Oriental Hornets, Vespa orientalis, and they are social wasps. We found a website that identifies them, lists the distribution as northern africa, western asia and madagascar, and gives other information about them. We are not sure what type of crab it is and we haven’t the time to research that right now.

Update (12/03/2007) crab vs. hornet
that has to be the funniest picture I have ever seen! It’s like David and Goliath. I guess the hornets thought it was worth the try. I’m sure the crab was laughing! happy holidays
Lee Weber
Nottingham PA

Hi Lee,
We agree that these photos are quite amazing. We were in a big rush to post them this morning before going to work.

Update: (12/05/2007) The crab and the oriental hornets
Hi Daniel,
The crab in those really great pictures is a species of Ghost Crab, genus Ocypode. They are called ghost crabs because at least some of the species are so well camouflaged that they are pretty much invisible on the sand until they move, which is often very rapidly indeed! In the Caribbean they come out of their burrows towards the end of the day. I don’t know which species this would be, as there are apparently 5 different species in the genus in Oman. All the very best,
Susan Hewitt

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