Some folks call beach hoppers "sand fleas," though they are not really fleas--and they don't bite. They do make impressive leaps, though, earning them the comparison. But hoppers are crustaceans rather than insects, related to the pill bugs and sowbugs found in your backyard, which are a little ahead of them on the evolutionary transition to landlubbers.
|Photo by ingridtaylar|
Hoppers are scavengers, eating what the tide tosses up, especially seaweed. Picking up a piece of bull kelp on the Pacific coast can launch an explosion of hoppers.
During broad daylight or high tide, each little beachcomber is buried headfirst in a teeny den in the sand, near the high tide line. They've sealed these with sand granules, so you're unlikely to see occupied dens. But you can look for the small round holes that were their previous day's burrows, next time you're on a sandy beach.