Friday, July 8, 2011

It's Crabday!

It's Crabday, Crabday! Gotta get down on Crabday!
Fun! Fun! Fun! Fun!

OK, so this isn't as catchy as "Caturday" or "Sundog" over at, but I figured it would be a fun way to celebrate Fridays.

Which crab should I... talk about first?
(I kinda gave up on that last line.)

Coconut Crab!
Birgus latro

These crabs are so huge and so beautiful! Their coloration has this amazing shade of blue that I fell in love with at first sight in the Solomon Islands. (Oh yeah, I got to see these beautiful crabs in person during a tropical marine biology class in 2004!) I first mentioned them here.

look at that beautiful mug!

B. latro are named coconut crabs because their large chelae can open coconuts for them to eat. This ability to crunch through coconuts has led people to suggest the crabs' ability to attack human skulls! Some people even question their role in Amelia Earhart's death and dismemberment.

Coconut vs. Coconut crab: who will win??

Part of why the rumor of the coconut crabs' skull cracking ability persists is their sheer size: they are the largest land-dwelling arthropod, weighing up to 9 pounds!  They are related to hermit crabs, but ditch the protective shells after adolescence. For something that large, with a heavy exoskeleton, walking around on the ground is a pretty impressive feat. But they can also climb trees!

Can you imagine walking through the forest, minding your own business, and coming eye-to-eye with this guy!?! It would be so awesome!!

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