08 Jun Behold! Cardisoma guanhumi! The Land Crab of Antigua!
Hi everyone! So I’m spending the summer in the Caribbean, and my first stop for the next few weeks is the island of Antigua. I’m working with a program here called Adopt A Coastline. Anyway, I went on a walk this morning and came across this bad boy!! I seriously almost lost my mind! I get a little too excited when I see cool wildlife… After I calmed down, I did some research on it. He’s so cool I thought I’d share it with you and teach you all about this amazing creature!
Scientific Name: Cardisoma guanhumi
Common Name: Blue Land Crab
Distribution: Coastal regions of the Atlantic, Caribbean, and Gulf of Mexico- as far north as Florida, as far south as Brazil
Diet: Omnivore (with a diet heavy in plant matter), Scavenger, can even be Cannibalistic!
Size: Can get up to 6″ (15cm) and weigh 1.5 pounds (500g)!! This boy was every bit that big!!
1. The one I saw is a male. You can easily tell males from females as males have one claw that is much larger than the other (kind of like a fiddler crab).
2. They dig deep burrows- up to 6 feet (1.8m) deep! There is water at the bottom of their burrows, and they stay there during the heat of the day, only coming out in the morning and evening (which is why I saw this one on my morning walk!). Here’s a pic of one that’s in my backyard. My Samsung G7 as a size reference. There are a lot of burrows back there- this is the biggest:
3. It is heavily harvested for food in some countries, like Puerto Rico. Other than us, adults don’t have a lot of predators- some birds and mammals, and like I mentioned above they can be cannibalistic.
4. They will carry food back to their burrow in their claws to eat later.
5. As adults they live on land, but as larvae they develop at sea! Females carry the fertilized eggs to the ocean on their backs and drop them in- up to a MILLION eggs!! The eggs hatch into zooplankton, and when fully developed, the juvenile crab crawls on to land. The vast majority of the defenseless zooplankton are eaten. Good thing, or you wouldn’t be able to take two steps without falling in a burrow or stepping on a crab!
And now I give you…Me getting a little too excited about a land crab! (Seriously, this is how I behave anytime I see amazing wildlife!)