Marine Biology

Crab Profile Giant Land Crab



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Thinking about a giant land crab may bring to mind a delicious meal of crustacean meat to eat for seafood lovers. This is because giant land crab carapaces can measure in at six inches from the top portion to the bottom area. The carapace is the horny shell covering that contains some of the edible meat. Meanwhile, giant land crab legs, the area many seafood lovers prefer, may also add an enormous amount of meat per crab to a tasty meal.

Giant land crabs, or Cardisoma guanhumi, are semi-terrestrial crustaceans that spend most of their time on land but enter the sea for breeding purposes as well as to quench their thirst.

If you were to somehow keep one or more giant land crabs from baby to adult stage you would soon discover that they look different during their youth than they do in their grownup lives. Whereas giant land crabs can possess purple, brown, or even orange appearances during their young lives, they eventually turn a blue-gray coloring. The females, however, are even more versitle and thus may turn white or light gray as they mature.

Residing in burrows, giant land crabs make their homes by digging into the land. They build their burrows deep enough to hold themselves as well as to hold enough water since it is essential to their survival. Burrow depth can be quite a few feet.

Although giant land crabs feed mostly on vegetables such as leaves, berries, flowers, fruits, and veggies, they also indulge on insects such as beetles.

At breeding season, which escalates during summer months when the moon is full, females lay their eggs but maintain possession of them, each by toting their offspring in a mass on the underside of her body. The mothers continue to carry their eggs until they are just about ready to hatch. Once hatching time nears, the mothers swim out to shallow waters and disperse their loads. Dispersing the eggs typically takes place a couple of weeks or so before the eggs hatch and crab larvae emerge. Roughly four years after they hatch, the baby land crabs will mature and continue the role of further advancing their species.

Although three to seven hundred thousand eggs could be released each time a female land crab partakes in the reproduction process, the actual survival numbers are low in comparison. This is because the defenseless crab larvae fall victim to hungry fish and other enemies swimming throughout the water in search of easy prey. The larvae that do survive develop into crabs in about a months time and then find themselves on one shore or another compliments of the ocean waves.

Crabs tend to have two front claws and one claw usually grows bigger than does the other.

Giant land crabs may also grow hair on their legs that spreads out sparingly rather than gathering thickly.

Cardisoma guanhumi spend their land dwelling time in or near the Caribbean Sea as well as in areas of southern Florida, Bermuda, and Texas.

University of Florida IFAS Extension

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