Tag Archive: galápagos crustaceans

Ghost Crab                                                    Ocypode sp.

Distribution: Galapágos Islands.

Habitat: Sandy beaches of fine volcanic rubble. The Ghost Crab tunnels down four feet into the ground at a 45 degree angle, creating 1-2 inch wide holes, which speckle the beach. At dusk, these crabs will sprint to the ocean in order to obtain oxygen from the water which washes over their gills.

Appearance:  Pale cream colored and elegant looking. The most distinctive feature of this ultra-fast little crustacean are his eyes which are at the end of a long retractable stalk.

Diet: Dead animals and debris they are also predators. If they can subdue it, they will eat it—including hatching sea turtles.

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Grapsus grapsus                    Grapsidae

Distribution: Entire Pacific coast of Central America and Mexico, and nearby islands. It is one of the many charismatic species that inhabit the Galápagos Islands.

Habitat: Lives amongst the rocks at the often turbulent, windy shore, just above the limit of the sea spray.

Appearence: G. grapsus is a typically shaped crab, with five pairs of legs, the front two bearing small, blocky, symmetrical chelae. The other legs are broad and flat, with only the tips touching the substrate. The crab’s round, flat carapace is just over 8 centimetres (3.1 in) in length. Young G. grapsus are black or dark brown in color and camouflage well on the black lava coasts of volcanic islands. Adults are quite variable in color. Some are muted brownish-red, some mottled or spotted brown, pink, or yellow.

Diet; Algae primarily, sometimes sampling plant matter and dead animals.

Remarks; G. grapsus is very agile and quick to avoid predators.

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