Red Crabs of Christmas Island
Red Crabs of Christmas Island Red Crabs are a crustaceous species that live on Christmas Island, located just south of Indonesia. They are a very important part of the ecosystem of the island, and have mainly good benefits for us humans. They’re very famous as well, known for the mass migrations which turn the roads of Christmas Island red. Red Crabs play a very important role in the ecosystem of Christmas Island, they are herbaceous and eat plants, which helps fertilize the ground, and they also provide food to the two other species of crab on the island; Robber Crabs & Blue Crabs.
The Robber Crabs eat the Red Crabs & Blue Crabs, and the Blue Crabs eat the Red Crabs. Red Crabs cannot be eaten by people, whereas Blue & Robber Crabs can be. The reason Red Crabs are so famous, is because of one of a few things; their migration. They migrate by the millions to cliffs by the ocean, with millions of crabs dying on the road due to cars and other human disturbance. This is where the males will dig burrows and often fight with the other male Red crabs, and eventually mate with the females.
The females normally wait around 10 days, and then head to the ocean at full moon where they will release the eggs, which hatch immediately upon contact with water. The baby Red Crabs then drift out to the open ocean, where they can be eaten by Whale Sharks and other fish, but normally every year they return back to the beach, and cover the rocks, which makes them look like they’re covered in blood. After a few days, they begin their migration back to the forest, and the carnage on the road begins once again.
The entire process of the migration and reproduction takes around 5 weeks in total. The Red Crabs are an advantage to Christmas Island’s economy because it brings in lots of tourists during this phenomenal event, but tend to cause destruction of things such as causing flat tires in cars, some people having a flat tire per day or more. This is the only real major effect on humans however, because all the people living there have learned to adjust to the crabs, with many accepting them and not caring if any crabs happen to walk into their house.
The island, as mentioned above, has two other species of crabs, the Blue Crab and Robber Crab. The Blue Crabs are slightly bigger than the Red Crab, and like them, also migrate to the ocean, but with fewer numbers. They also tend to be more aggressive and eat the Red Crabs. Robber Crabs, are considerably larger & stronger than the Blue Crabs and Red Crabs, and are also known as Coconut Crabs due to their ability to break open coconuts.
They’re very aggressive, often killing Red & Blue Crabs, and only tolerate each other when food is plentiful. Like Blue Crabs, they are edible to humans, but had a ban on them for a few years due to their species becoming vulnerable from over hunting. In all, the Red Crabs of Christmas Island are a very unique and interesting species, and despite the fact that millions die during migration, their numbers are still sky-high at around 81 million in 1997.