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Coconut crab

Birgus latro

IMG 20240312 WA0012
IUCN Conservation Status –
Least Concern
Extinct In The Wild
Class: Malacostraca
Order: Decapoda
Family: Coenobitidae

Coconut crabs are omnivores and opportunistic feeders. While they primarily feed on plant material such as fallen fruits, nuts, and leaves, they are also known to scavenge on carrion, hunt for smaller animals like insects and other crabs, and even crack open coconuts to feed on the flesh inside. Their ability to climb trees allows them access to a wide range of food sources.

Interesting facts!

  • Coconut crabs hold the title of being the largest land-living arthropods in the world. Adult coconut crabs can have a leg span of up to 3 feet (almost 1 meter) and can weigh as much as 9 pounds (4 kilograms). Their size makes them a formidable presence in their habitats.
  • Unlike most other crabs, coconut crabs have adapted to a primarily terrestrial lifestyle. They have a set of modified gills that allow them to breathe air, enabling them to live on land for extended periods. However, they still require access to water for reproduction and to keep their gills moist
  • Coconut crabs are known for their relatively long lifespans compared to other arthropods. They can live for several decades, with some individuals estimated to live up to 60 years or more!

Conservation

Considered Vulnerable on the IUCN red list, coconut crabs face threats from habitat destruction, predation by introduced species, and over-harvesting by humans for food and the pet trade.