Impurest's Guide to Animals #25 - Robber Crab

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Edited By ImpurestCheese

Guess what’s being released early this week as another nut crushing issue of Impurest’s Guide to Animals arrives on Comicvine. Last week the perplexing Paradox Frog and its giant tadpole hopped into the spotlight. This week’s creature is a tree climbing, coconut smashing behemoth. Hope you enjoy

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Issue #25 - Robber Crab

[1]
[1]

Kingdom – Animalia

Phylum – Arthropoda

Class – Malacostraca

Order – Decapoda

Family – Coenobitadae

Genus – Birgus

Species – latro

Related Species - The Robber Crab’s closest relatives are the Terrestrial Hermit Crabs (1)

Range

Extinct Range includes East Coast of Africa and West Australia [2]
Extinct Range includes East Coast of Africa and West Australia [2]

The Coconut Crusher

The Robber or Coconut Crab is the largest terrestrial invertebrate, reaching a leg span of just under a meter and a weight of four kilos. Adult Robber Crabs are truly terrestrial, possessing only vestigial gills and an organ called a Branchiostegel Lung to extract oxygen from the atmosphere. In fact Robber Crabs will drown if submerged in water for too long. The only connection to the ocean comes when the crabs breed, mostly due to the larval stage that spends four months drifting in the zoo-planktyon.

[3]
[3]

Robber Crabs forage using a sense of smell that has evolved to be similar to the type used by insects (2). While predominantly herbivorous Robber Crabs will scavenge on any vaguely organic material. Despite earlier assumptions very few Robber Crabs eat coconuts, despite climbing trees to remove the nuts. It’s been discovered that the crabs were mostly removing the husk to line its burrow, used when the crab has to moult its tough exoskeleton. Only the largest Robber Crabs can smash open coconuts to eat the flesh hidden inside the nut, although group efforts between multiple smaller crabs have been recorded

Robber Crabs have no natural predators save for Man (Homo sapiens sapiens), who in parts of its range, view the crab as food. It’s likely that before its extinction, on larger islands the Robber Crab had other natural predators. Besides subsistence hunting, some cultures believe that Robber Crab flesh is an aphrodisiac, although there is no scientific evidence to support this. In addition a large number of Robber Crabs are killed on roads criss-crossing their island homes

No Caption Provided

Five Fun Robber Crab Facts

Colouration of a Robber Crab varies from island to island. The exact reason why is still unknown.

Before you tuck into a Robber Crab stake beware that the species bio-accumulates toxins from the plants it eats within its own body tissues (3)

That said sometimes the crabs eat people. The amazing aviatrix Amelia Earhart was believed to have been scavenged on by Robber Crabs, after skeletal remains of a woman dating back to the 1930s were found in crab burrows (4)

Juvenile Robber Crabs are not so thick skinned. Instead they lug around an abandoned gastropod shell on their back until they get bigger.

Robber Crabs are real wanderers, they can be found kilometres inland, often in dense tropical forest

Bibliography

1 -www.arkive.org

2 - Marcus C. Stensmyr, Susanne Erland, Eric Hallberg, Rita Wallén, Peter Greenaway & Bill S. Hansson (2005). "Insect-like olfactory adaptations in the terrestrial giant robber crab"(PDF). Current Biology

3 - S. S. Deshpande (2002). "Seafood toxins and poisoning".Handbook of Food Toxicology. Food Science and Technology119. New York, New York: Marcel Dekker. pp. 687–754.

4 - http://news.discovery.com/history/us-history/amelia-earhart-resting-place.htm

Picture References

1 - http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/c/c1/Birgus_latro.jpg

2 -http://www.buzzle.com/images/animal-kingdom/crabs/coconut-crab-distribution.jpg

3 - http://www.sv-doodlebug.com/Pics2006/robber_crab2.jpg

4 - http://www.notcot.com/images/2011/10/crabs6.jpg

Thanks for reading guys; I hope you enjoyed the rowdy Robber Crab. Make sure to drop me a comment and suggest an animal to be covered in future issues, and as usual you can check out past issues in Impurest’s Bestiary.

Many Thanks

Impurest Cheese

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Cream_God

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Looks like Mr Krabs has been hitting the gym

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deactivated-5c901e667a76c

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#3  Edited By deactivated-5c901e667a76c  Moderator

Remember that animal book I mentioned last week? I first learned about these from it too.

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laflux

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Looks like Mr Krabs has been hitting the gym

lol

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That looks like a Nope Crab.

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Wolverine008

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I got biceps bigger than all you nerds.

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wildvine

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Those sound cool actually.

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ImpurestCheese

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@wolverine08: I doubt it. And why the nerd insult? Some of us work in environmental management and have to deal with such things

@xwraith: Hmm it is a little more well known then most my stuff. Let's see what happens next week

@scorpion2501: What's a nope crab?

@wildvine: Told you I had some 'cooler wilder' stuff ip my sleeve

@laflux: @cgoodness: I second that LOL

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@impurestcheese:

And why the nerd insult? Some of us work in environmental management and have to deal with such things

Haha, sorry about the misunderstanding. It's an ongoing gag of sorts that whenever topics like these come up I boast about my weight lifting exploits and someone like Laflux subsequently tries to put me in my place :D

No insult meant.

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ImpurestCheese

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@wolverine08: Ah okay then, I'm not so muscled in my arms, more of a runner then a weight lifter, then again my job is to catch and rescue animals so arm strength is less important anyway. Any thoughts on the actual isdue BTW?

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@impurestcheese: A crab I wouldn't want to mess with. I've seen an image of one hanging on a trash can. And it was HUGE.

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ImpurestCheese

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@wolverine08: Japanese Spider Crab gets three times the size of this. Thanks for the comment BTW

@scorpion2501: One cut through my camera strap a while back, so yes nasty pinchers. Fun to chase down the beach though

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@impurestcheese: I believe that. Could you do a guide about some kind of scorpion :D? When you have some spare time of course.

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#15  Edited By laflux

@wolverine08: Ah okay then, I'm not so muscled in my arms, more of a runner then a weight lifter, then again my job is to catch and rescue animals so arm strength is less important anyway. Any thoughts on the actual isdue BTW?

Yeah, I have alot of running gags that go on in Comicvine, and sometimes it brings in ohter (innocent) parties lol.

Even though I correctly guessed this

I had no idea that they where fully terrestrial

And that they didn't eat coconuts as well.

So very interesting as usual :)

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ImpurestCheese

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@scorpion2501: Already in the works. Circa - Issue 28 (Request 2 of 2)

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Straight-Fire

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#17  Edited By Straight-Fire

Whoa! That crab is huge! I'm so happy I found out about this.

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Ostyo

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@impurestcheese: Amelia, nooooo!!! She was the Impurestcheese of the 30s, you damn dirty crabs!

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DarthAznable

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I remember watching a video on them a few months back. They look super creepy. I wouldn't want to meet one in a dark alley.

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#20  Edited By ImpurestCheese

@dboyrules2011: Yep but there are even bigger crabs out in the ocean

@ostyo: Thank you, and yes poor Amelia

@darthaznable: More likley then not it will wander through you're accomidation looking for food

@laflux: Cool, imagine what we could learn about your animal nemesis next week (-:

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Ostyo

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@impurestcheese: Well know, all redheads look a like. :P

Anyway, giant land crabs...God truly hates me...

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Awww, it's kinda cute, in a gigantic I-could-eat-you-alive kind of way...

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ImpurestCheese

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@squares: But only in that way...now excuse me while I get all Celtic on the next comment

@ostyo: WHAT!! If i didn't need this oar for kayaking...

@dboyrules2011: You're welcome

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laflux

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@laflux: Cool, imagine what we could learn about your animal nemesis next week (-:

:3

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Ostyo

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@impurestcheese: Ha, fiery temper. Typical of a tomato head. :P

So have you ever done any work with crabs?

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ImpurestCheese

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@cable_extreme: You're welcome, thanks for the comment

@darthaznable: Added to the list of requests (Issue 29)

@ostyo: Nope, but I have seen wild Robber Crabs before

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scattered316

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I thought they were called coconut crabs...

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#32  Edited By Cream_God

Are you gonna do some sorta shark next since it's Shark Week?

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#34  Edited By ImpurestCheese

@scattered316: They are called that as well

@cgoodness: Uh pass, next question

@ostyo: Nope, but my poor camera was another story

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#35  Edited By Ostyo
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ImpurestCheese

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@ostyo: Casualty of Relaxing on a tropical island

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The amazing aviatrix Amelia Earhart was believed to have been scavenged on by Robber Crabs, after skeletal remains of a woman dating back to the 1930s were found in crab burrows (4)

A little verklempt at the moment. (great write up)