Home Life Trends Coconut Crab - Facts, Habitat, Diet and Information

Coconut Crab - Facts, Habitat, Diet and Information

Coconut Crab facts and data. Know Coconut Crab weight loss program, habitat, behaviour taxonomy, and so forth See fascinating facts of Coconut Crab in our animal facts archive.

Scientific identify: Birgus latro
Scientific classification:
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Malacostraca
Order: Decapoda
Family: Coenobitidae

What does it appear to be? The coconut crab is a really massive crustacean. Reports of the total dimension this animal can attain range wildly, however a physique size of at the least 40 cm and a weight of Four kg are real looking. The first pair of legs may be very properly developed, and they bear enormous pincers. The second, third, and fourth pairs of legs are slimmer and used for strolling, whereas the final pair are very small and skinny. The physique is split into two main components, the carapace (cephalothorax) and the stomach. All components of the physique have a really robust exoskeleton. Color additionally varies tremendously, however these crabs are usually blue or brownish with pale patterning.

Where does it stay? The coconut crab is present in a big swathe of the Indo-Pacific area, stretching from the Andaman Islands within the Indian Ocean to the Pitcairn and Easter Islands within the Pacific. It prefers coastal habitat, however has been discovered up to 6 km from the ocean. In some areas they stay in rocky crevices, whereas in others they assemble burrows in sandy floor.


The crabs, no matter their success on the earth’s oceans, by no means actually made a lot of an impression on dry land. However, one exception to that is the coconut crab. As an grownup, this animal is so tailored to a terrestrial lifestyle that whether it is submerged in water for any size of time, it'll drown. Not solely have they turned their again on a marine lifestyle, however they've additionally developed into by far the biggest land-dwelling invertebrate.

Although the usually accepted restrict is round Four kg and Four cm in size, there are stories of specimens greater than double this size and 4 occasions the load.These gigantic crabs begin life as eggs connected to the underside of their mom, who should enterprise down to the shore to release her brood into the water. The larvae that hatch from these eggs are marine and spend the primary month or so of their lives floating round within the plankton.

After this aquatic section, the younger, which have managed to survive the rigours of an aquatic existence, drop to the seabed the place they search the empty shells of marine snails. The younger crab backs right into a suitably sized shell and makes use of it as a mobile dwelling, disappearing into it on the first signal of hazard. The crab’s tender stomach is especially susceptible, so it's hid within the empty shell always.

During this time, the younger coconut crab might depart the water often to discover dry land. This amphibious stage lasts one other month, throughout which period the crab might have modified its shell to accommodate its rising physique. With dry land beckoning, the crab leaves the ocean endlessly, however it is going to be one other two or three years earlier than it will probably ditch its protecting shell. Its skill to survive in water is misplaced, however its modified gills allow it to breathe air.

These gills are located within the carapace of the crab and are surrounded by a spongy tissue, which should be saved moist always to guarantee ample fuel change. This is the place the frail, rear legs come in useful as they're dipped into water and brushed towards the gill tissue.

With these lungs, the coconut crab can discover its terrestrial habitat. They haul themselves over the sandy floor of their islands and may even scale coconut palms. They might take to a palm to get out of the solar or to evade a predator. It is uncertain that they really reduce creating coconuts from their stalks, however they'll use their fearsome pincers to open coconuts which have already fallen. Anyone who has tried to open a coconut will know that is no imply feat, however the crab’s pincers are sturdy sufficient to carry a weight of 29 kg, and with endurance the crab can whittle down the robust protecting of these enormous seeds. 

Although robust nuts will be handled by the crab, it eats all kinds of different fruits and decaying animal matter. Small animals, like newly hatched turtles, that are too gradual to escape the crab’s clutches, are additionally on the menu.

All this food leads to elevated bulk, and the one approach the coconut crab can develop is by shedding its pores and skin. In a totally grown specimen, that is an elaborate course of, which takes place in its lair over a interval of 30 days. The new pores and skin is tender and fl exible, and the burgeoning bulk shortly takes up the slack. Not wanting to be wasteful, the crab eats its shed pores and skin after it has recovered from the appreciable exertions of adjusting its armor.

Coconut crab etymology

The coconut crab has been identified to western researchers for the reason that voyages of Sir Francis Drake round 1580 and William Dampier round 1688. Based on a file by Georg Eberhard Rumphius (1705), who had referred to as the creature "Cancer crumenatus", Carl Linnaeus (1767) named the species Cancer latro, from the Latin latro, signifying "robber". The type Birgus was raised in 1816 by William Elford Leach, containing simply Linnaeus' Cancer latro, which was on this method renamed Birgus latro. Birgus is ordered within the household Coenobitidae, shut by one completely different class, Coenobita, which comprises the earthbound recluse crabs. Normal names for the species incorporate coconut crab, and palm thief, which displays the creature's identify in different European dialects (e.g. German: Palmendieb).


The coconut crab (Birgus latro) is a varieties of earthbound loner crab, in any other case referred to as the robber crab or palm thief. It is the most important land-dwelling arthropod on the planet, and is presumably on the higher dimension farthest level for earthly animals with exoskeletons as of late, with a weight of up to 4.1 kg (9.Zero lb). It can develop to up to 1 m (Three ft Three in) lengthy from leg to leg. It is discovered on islands over the Indian Ocean and components of the Pacific Ocean as far east because the Gambier Islands reflecting the dispersion of the coconut palm; it has been extirpated from most territories with a crucial human populace, together with territory Australia and Madagascar. The coconut crab is the principal sorts of the range Birgus, and is recognized with the earthbound loner crabs of the kind Coenobita. It demonstrates varied changes to life ashore. Like recluse crabs, adolescent coconut crabs make the most of discharge gastropod shells for assurance, but the grown-ups construct up an excessive exoskeleton on their mid-area and stop conveying a shell. Coconut crabs have organs referred to as "branchiostegal lungs", that are utilized moderately than the minimal gills for respiration and they'll suffocate if drenched in water for lengthy. They have an intense feeling of notice, which has grown concurrently with that of creepy crawlies, and which they use to uncover potential sustenance sources. Grown-up coconut crabs feast upon pure merchandise, nuts, seeds, and the substance of fallen bushes, nonetheless will eat stays and different pure matter entrepreneurially. Anything cleared out unattended on the bottom is a possible wellspring of sustenance which they'll study and might divert - on this method getting the choice identify of "robber crab." The species is famously linked with the coconut palm, but coconuts aren't a noteworthy piece of its consuming routine. In spite of the truth that it lives in a tunnel the crab has been recorded climbing coconut and pandanus bushes. There isn't any movie demonstrating a crab particularly choosing coconut natural product, nonetheless they might oust prepared natural product that usually would fall really. Climbing is a immediate escape course (if too a great distance from the tunnel) to keep a strategic distance from predation (when youthful) by expansive ocean winged creatures, or human flesh consumption (at any age) by higher, extra established crabs. Mating occurs on dry land, but the females come again to the sting of the ocean to discharge their handled eggs and after that withdraw go down the shoreline. The hatchlings that incubate are planktonic for Three weeks, earlier than settling to the ocean depths, getting into a gastropod shell and coming again to dry land. S*xual improvement is come to after round 5 years, and the mixture life expectancy may be greater than 60 years. In the three weeks that the hatchlings keep within the ocean their shot of reaching one other cheap space might be improved within the occasion that they find a drifting life emotionally supportive community. It is normally concurred that gliding logs or piles of tempest struck vegetation could be cheap, albeit moderately chancy and unquestionably occasional. Interestingly, skimming coconuts will be an especially noteworthy piece of the crab's dispersal decisions.

Size and weight

Birgus latro is the greatest earthly arthropod, and surely earthbound invertebrate, on the earth; stories in regards to the extent of Birgus latro differ, but most sources give a physique size of up to 40 cm (16 in), a weight of up to 4.1 kg (9.Zero lb), and a leg traverse of greater than 0.91 m (3.Zero ft), with guys by and massive being greater than females. The carapace might obtain a size of 78 mm (3.1 in), and a width of up to 200 mm (7.9 in). The physique of the coconut crab is, related to that of all decapods, remoted right into a entrance section (cephalothorax), which has 10 legs, and a guts. The entrance-most mix of legs has intensive chelae (hooks), with the left being greater than the precise. The following two units, as with different loner crabs, are substantial, succesful strolling legs with pointed tips, which enable coconut crabs to climb vertical or overhanging surfaces. The fourth match of legs is littler with tweezer-like chelae towards the top, allowing youthful coconut crabs to maintain inside a shell or coconut husk to convey for assurance; grown-ups make the most of this match for strolling and climbing. The final match of legs is little and is utilized by females to have a tendency their eggs, and by the fellows in mating. This final mix of legs is usually held contained in the carapace, within the gap containing the respiration organs. There is a few distinction in shading between the animals discovered on varied islands, extending from orange-purple to purplish blue; in lots of districts, blue is the overwhelming shading, but in a couple of spots, together with the Seychelles, most people are purple. In spite of the truth that Birgus latro is an inferred kind of recluse crab, simply the adolescents make the most of rescued snail shells to safe their delicate midriffs, and younger people now and then make the most of damaged coconut shells to guarantee their guts. Not in any respect like different loner crabs, the grown-up coconut crabs do not convey shells but moderately solidify their abdomen terga by maintaining chitin and chalk. Not being obliged by the bodily bounds of dwelling in a shell allows this animal sorts to develop considerably greater than different recluse crabs within the household Coenobitidae. Like most real crabs, B. latro twists its tail beneath its physique for defense. The solidified mid-area secures the coconut crab and decreases water misfortune ashore, but should be shed often. Grown-ups shed yearly, and uncover a tunnel to 1 m (Three ft Three in) lengthy wherein to stow away whereas susceptible. It stays within the tunnel for 3 to 4 months, contingent upon the measure of the animal. After shedding, it takes 1 to Three weeks for the exoskeleton to solidify, contingent upon the animal's dimension, amid which period the animal's physique is delicate and helpless, and it stays lined up for safety.

Respiratory, although cannot swim however...

But as hatchlings, coconut crabs cannot swim, and they'll suffocate if left in water for greater than a hour. They make the most of an unusual organ referred to as a branchiostegal lung to loosen up. This organ will be translated as a formative stage amongst gills and lungs, and is a standout amongst essentially the most crucial changes of the coconut crab to its habitat. The branchiostegal lung comprises a tissue like that present in gills, but suited to the ingestion of oxygen from air, as an alternative of water. This organ is prolonged alongside the aspect and is evaginated to construct the floor space; located within the cephalothorax, it's ideally set to lower each the blood/fuel dissemination separate and the arrival separation of oxygenated blood to the pericardium. Coconut crabs make the most of their rearmost, littlest match of legs to clear these respiration organs and to dampen them with water. The organs oblige water to legitimately work, and the coconut crab offers this by stroking its moist legs over the sunshine tissues shut-by. Coconut crabs might drink water from little puddles by exchanging it from their chelipeds to their maxillipeds. Notwithstanding the branchiostegal lung, the coconut crab has an additional easy association of gills. Despite the truth that these gills are tantamount in quantity to oceanic species from the households Paguridae and the Diogenidae, they're lessened in dimension and have comparatively much less floor space.

Smelling, Coconut crab's artwork of Vigilancy

The coconut crab has an throughout created feeling of notice, which it makes use of to discover its food. The approach towards noticing works contrastingly relying upon whether or not the seen atoms are hydrophilic particles in water or hydrophobic atoms in air. As most crabs stay within the water, they've particular organs referred to as aesthetascs on their recieving wires to resolve each the main focus and the course of an odor. Be that as it might, as coconut crabs stay on the land, the aesthetascs on their reception apparatuses are shorter and blunter than these of various crabs and look extra like these of bugs. While creepy crawlies and the coconut crab begin from varied methods, the same want to establish smells noticeable throughout prompted the development of surprisingly comparative organs. Coconut crabs flick their recieving wires as creepy crawlies do to enhance their gathering. They have an outstanding feeling of scent and can acknowledge intriguing scents over enormous separations. The scents of spoiling meat, bananas, and coconuts, all potential nourishment sources, get their consideration particularly. Research has demonstrated that the olfactory framework within the coconut crab's thoughts may be very a lot created contrasted with completely different territories of the mind.

Coconut crab Life cycle

Coconut crabs mate each now and once more and quickly on dry land within the interval from May to September, significantly between early June and late August. Male coconut crabs have spermatophores and retailer a mass of spermatophores on the abdomen space of the feminine; the stomach opens on the base of the third pereiopods, and preparation is assumed to occur on the outer floor of the heart because the eggs undergo the spermatophore mass. The expulsion of eggs occurs ashore in fissure or tunnels shut to the shore. Shortly from there on, the feminine lays her eggs and pastes them to the underside of her stomach, conveying the handled eggs beneath her physique for a few months. At the season of carry forth, the feminine coconut crab discharges the eggs into the ocean. This as a rule occurs on tough shores at sundown, significantly when this harmonizes with excessive tide. The unfilled egg circumstances keep on the feminine's physique after the hatchlings have been discharged, and the feminine eats the egg circumstances inside a pair days. The hatchlings drift within the pelagic zone of the ocean with different tiny fish for 3 to 4 weeks, amid which an intensive variety of them are eaten by predators. The hatchlings undergo three to 5 zoea organizes earlier than shedding into the publish-larval glaucothoe organize; this process takes from 25 to 33 days. Upon coming to the glaucothoe section of enchancment, they settle to the bottom, discover and put on an appropriately estimated gastropod shell, and relocate to the shoreline with different earthbound loner crabs. round then, they a number of the time go to dry land. Some time later, they depart the ocean all the time and lose the capability to soak up water. Likewise with all recluse crabs, they modify their shells as they develop. Youthful coconut crabs that may't uncover a seashell of the right dimension frequently make the most of damaged coconut items. When they exceed their shells, they construct up a solidified guts. The coconut crab achieves ####ual improvement round 5 years after hatching. They obtain their most excessive dimension merely following 40 to 60 years.


The weight loss program of coconut crabs includes principally of plump pure merchandise (particularly Ochrosia ackeringae, Arenga listeri, Pandanus elatus, P. christmatensis), nuts (coconuts Cocos nucifera, Aleurites moluccanus) and seeds (Annona reticulata), and the essence of fallen bushes. However, as they're omnivores, they'll devour different pure supplies, for instance, tortoise hatchlings and useless animals. They have been seen to go after crabs like Gecarcoidea natalis and Discoplax hirtipes, and additionally rummage on the cadavers of different coconut crabs. During a labeling take a look at, one coconut crab was watched executing and consuming a Polynesian Rat (Rattus exulans). Coconut crabs may be answerable for the vanishing of Amelia Earhart's remaining components, expending them after her passing and storing her skeletal remainders of their burrows. The coconut crab can take a coconut ranging from the earliest stage slice it to a husk nut, carry it with its paw, transfer up a tree 10 m (33 ft) excessive and drop the husk nut, to get to the coconut meat inside. They frequently slip from the bushes by falling, and can survive a fall of a minimum of 4.5 meters (15 ft) unharmed. Coconut crabs reduce gaps into coconuts with their stable paws and eat the substance, despite the truth that it will probably take a couple of days earlier than the coconut is opened. Thomas Hale Streets talked in regards to the conduct in 1877, questioning that the animal would climb bushes to get on the nuts. In the 1980s, Holger Rumpff may affirm Streets' report, watching and contemplating how they open coconuts within the wild. The animal has constructed up an distinctive system to do as such: if the coconut is as but secured with husk, it'll make the most of its hooks to rip off strips, frequently starting from the agree with the three germination pores, the gathering of three little circles discovered on the outside of the coconut. Once the pores are unmistakable, the coconut crab will hit its pliers towards one in every of them till they break. A short while later, it'll pivot and make the most of the littler pliers on its completely different legs to haul out the white substance of the coconut. Utilizing their stable hooks, greater people may even break the laborious coconut into littler items for less complicated utilization.


Coconut Crabs are seen as a standout amongst essentially the most earthbound adjusted of the decapods, with most components of its life located to, and revolved round such a presence; they'll actually suffocate in ocean water in underneath a day. Coconut crabs stay alone in underground tunnels and shake cleft, contingent upon the close by panorama. They delve their very own explicit tunnels in sand or free soil. Amid the day, the animal stays hid to reduce water misfortune from heat. The coconut crabs' tunnels include tremendous but stable filaments of the coconut husk which the animal makes use of as bedding. While resting in its tunnel, the coconut crab shuts the doorways with one in every of its hooks to make the moist microclimate contained in the tunnel important for its respiration organs. In areas with an enormous coconut crab populace, some might end up amid the day, possibly to decide up leverage within the scan for sustenance. Different circumstances they'll rise on the off probability that it's sodden or drizzling, since these situations allow them to inhale all of the extra effortlessly. They stay solely ashore, coming again to the ocean simply to discharge their eggs; on Christmas Island, for instance, B. latro is wealthy 6 kilometers (3.7 mi) from the ocean.


Coconut crabs stay within the Indian Ocean and the focal Pacific Ocean, with an appropriation that almost coordinates that of the coconut palm. The western furthest reaches of the scope of B. latro is Zanzibar, off the shoreline of Tanzania, whereas the tropics of Cancer and Capricorn stamp the northern and southern breaking factors, individually, with not very many populace within the subtropics, for instance, the Ryukyu Islands. There is affirmation that the coconut crab as soon as lived on the terrains of Australia and Madagascar and on the island of Mauritius, nonetheless it now not occurs in any of these locations. As they cannot swim as grown-ups, coconut crabs extra possible than not colonized the islands as planktonic larvae. Christmas Island within the Indian Ocean has the most important and densest populace of coconut crabs on the earth, even if it's dwarfed there by greater than 50 occasions by the Christmas Island purple crab, Gecarcoidea natalis. Other Indian Ocean populaces exist on the Seychelles, together with Aldabra and Cosmoledo, but the coconut crab is terminated on the focal islands. Coconut crabs occur on a couple of of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands within the Bay of Bengal. They occur on the overwhelming majority of the islands, and the northern atolls, of the Chagos Archipelago. In the Pacific, the coconut crab's vary ended up noticeably identified little by little. Charles Darwin trusted it was simply discovered on "a solitary coral island north of the Society group". The coconut crab is far more across the board, nonetheless it's not bounteous on every Pacific island it inhabits. Large populaces exist on the Cook Islands, significantly Pukapuka, Suwarrow, Mangaia, Takutea, Mauke, Atiu, and Palmerston Island. These are close to the jap furthest reaches of its vary, similar to the Line Islands of Kiribati, the place the coconut crab is especially go to on Teraina (Washington Island), with its copious coconut palm forest. The Gambier Islands denote the species' jap breaking level.

Association with human beings

Grown-up coconut crabs haven't any identified predators separated from different coconut crabs and people. Its enormous dimension and the character of its meat implies that the coconut crab is broadly chased and is extraordinarily unusual on islands with a human inhabitants. The coconut crab is eaten by Southeast Asians and Pacific Islanders and is seen as a delicacy and a love potion, and severe chasing has undermined the species' survival in some areas. While the coconut crab itself is just not inherently dangerous, it'd end up to be so relying upon its weight loss program, and cases of coconut crab harming have occurred. For instance, utilization of the ocean mango Cerbera manghas by the coconut crab might make the coconut crab toxic due to the nearness of cardiovascular cardenolides. The pliers of the coconut crab are sufficiently efficient to make observable torment a human; besides, the coconut crab will regularly preserve its maintain for augmented timeframes. Thomas Hale Streets stories a lure utilized by Micronesians of the Line Islands to get a coconut crab to extricate its grasp: "It might enthusiasm to realize that in such a situation a delicate titillation of the under delicate parts of the body with any light material will make the crab relax its hold." In the Cook Islands, the coconut crab is called unga or kaveu, and within the Mariana Islands it's referred to as ayuyu, and is now and once more linked with taotaomo'na on account of the customary conviction that familial spirits can return as animals, for instance, the coconut crab.

Conservation Status

Coconut crab populaces in a couple of ranges have declined or turned out to be domestically terminated due to each habitat misfortune and human predation. In 1981, it was recorded on the IUCN Red List as a helpless animal sorts, but an absence of pure data made its analysis be modified to "information lacking" in 1996. Conservation administration methodologies have been arrange in a couple of districts, for instance, least reliable dimension level of confinement limitations in Guam and Vanuatu, and a prohibition on the catch of egg-bearing females in Guam and the Federated States of Micronesia. In the Northern Mariana Islands, chasing of non-egg-bearing grown-ups over a carapace size of 30 mm (1.2 in) might happen in September, October and November, and slightly below allow. There is a sack farthest level of 5 coconut crabs on any given day, and 15 over your complete season. In Tuvalu coconut crabs stay on the motu (islets) within the Funafuti Conservation Area, a marine conservation territory protecting 33 sq. kilometers (12.74 sq. miles) of reef, tidal pond and motu on the western aspect of Funafuti atoll.

Key Facts

  • The coconut crab is a kind of hermit crab, of which there's 500 identified species. All spend at the least a part of their life within the discarded shells of marine snails.
  • Mating within the coconut crab is a brusque affair and includes the bigger male wrestling the feminine onto her again the place he precedes to copulate. Shortly after, the feminine produces her fertilised eggs and adheres them to her stomach the place she retains them till they're prepared to hatch.
  • The coconut crab is often known as the robber crab, because it apparently keen on stealing pots and pans from homes and tents. It might mistake these objects for food and will drag them again to its burrow, which is what it does with actual food. Competition for food will be fierce; subsequently, tasty morsels are usually taken again to the animal’s lair earlier than being consumed.
  • During the larval stage, the overwhelming majority of coconut crabs will fall foul of predators, however an grownup specimen has nothing to worry besides people. The flesh of this animal is a delicacy in lots of areas, and so looking stress will be fairly intense. Fortunately, in a number of areas the crab is protected, or accumulating is restricted to sustainable ranges.
  • With the current situations on Earth, the scale of the coconut crab might be the best that may be attained by a terrestrial invertebrate. It has been proposed that the focus of oxygen was far increased within the ambiance many hundreds of thousands of years in the past. This allowed many varieties of invertebrate to attain gigantic proportions.