What you see in the five first photos are baby Christmas Island Red Crabs, Gecarcoidea natalis (Decapoda - Gecarcinidae), emerging from the ocean, and making their way to the forest, as seen in January of this 2014.
These crabs are endemic to the Christmas Island. For most of the year the red crabs are found within forest, but each year these crabs must migrate to the coast to breed (last photo). The estimated population of adult red crabs on Christmas Island was 43.7 million in 2001, so the migration is really impressive.
The arrival of the monsoonal rains allows increased activity of red crabs and stimulates the annual migration. During this breeding migration red crabs, like other terrestrial gecarcinids, must abandon their home ranges and travel down to the coast to mate and spawn. The downward migration normally requires at least a week, and the crabs migrate mainly during the first few hours of the morning and in the late afternoon.
The males excavate burrows, which they must defend from other males, on the lowest shore terraces; mating occurs in or near the burrows. Soon after mating the males start the journey back inland to the forest, while the females lay their eggs and remain in the burrows for 2 weeks. At the end of the incubation period the females vacate their burrows and make their way to the coastal cliffs, which almost completely surround the island, to cast their eggs into the ocean. The females usually release their eggs into the sea toward dawn, around the turn of the high tide, and then they return to the forest.
Eggs hatch immediately in the sea and the larvae (now called megalope) live in the sea for about a month before returning to land as juvenile crabs. These juvenile crabs start a first migration to the forest as seen in the first photos.
Howdy all! Back in May I started working with this great little plush toy company called Zylie & Friends (working two jobs being the reason I’ve been so sparse, haha) and this week, we launched our Kickstarter to help fund production of our third toy!
Our mission’s a seemingly simple one - unplugging play. New technologies are certainly a wonderful aid in learning and developing motor and logical problem-solving skills, but screen time has seriously started to dominate (especially as more and more households NEED guardians to be working to keep afloat). There can always be too much of a good thing, and we’re trying to help encourage more unstructured play, which helps develop creative problem-solving skills in addition to others - something that’s lacking especially as school programs for the arts, music, and even home ec are being cut. You can check out the website for more info.
Real talk, this animal (the Ordovician Helmet crab, aka the Horseshoe crab, aka the Atlantic’s most at-risk shelled animal) is of a species that is close to 450 million years old. They are considered endangered, and often wash up on the shores of Long Island (this big lady crab was at TR park in Oyster Bay)
Note: these animals are often used to extract their blue blood and cure diseases. They help the ocean out big time. And they are one of the longest-surviving species on the planet. They’re washing up and people don’t think to/are scared to save them because of their deceivingly harmless barbs.
Take note, friends. Their barbs are NOT stingers. They cannot hurt you. Their pinchers aren’t pinchers, they’re just little legs that are actually really soft! The barb tail they have is actually what they use to stick into the ocean floor or the sand when waves knock them over or they flip onto their backs by accident. And you can help them out by flipping them back over very quickly and helping them scuttle back into the water if you see them struggling.
This is way important. Just call me the Sarah McLachlan of horseshoe crabs.
What: MOTHERFUCKING STREET PARTY When: A LONG-ASS TIME AGO Dress Code: NAKED. NO EXCEPTIONS. Please Bring: HUMAN BONES, WEIRD-ASS INSTRUMENTS, MAYBE A NOOSE IF YOU’D LIKE RSVP: THE FUCKING GOAT PEOPLE ON 7TH AND BROADWAY