A Christmas Crustacean Migration

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A Christmas Crustacean Migration

Paige Pinion and Jena Keller

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Millions of red Christmas crabs migrate to beaches around Australia every year during the months of October or November, flooding the beaches with their red bodies and attracting hundreds of tourists.

Red crabs are a type of crab native to Christmas Island in Australia. They are normally red, orange, or sometimes purple. They are a large crab with a shell of 116 mm across and their claws are normally an equal size. Red crabs can usually be found in the rainforests of Christmas Island.

After migrating all the way to the shore, the red crabs will begin to prepare to lay eggs. The male crabs will first dig dens for the female crabs to prepare to lay eggs in. After the male and female crabs mate, the male crabs will make their way back to their homes in the rainforests of Christmas Island. The female crabs will go to the dens that the male crabs dug for them previously.

Next, the female crabs will continue migrating towards the sea. Once they reach the shore, they will lay their eggs in the water. The crabs will do this about 12-13 days of staying in their den preparing to lay eggs. Because of the lunar cycle, the waves are much calmer when the eggs are laid. This lets the baby crabs have a better chance at surviving.

Once the eggs are laid, the baby crabs will hatch as larvae soon after. Once all the eggs are hatched, many of the larvae will die while going through their larval stages because of the waves and predators in the ocean. Only a few will survive. After these crabs survive the ocean, they then have to make it all the way back to the rainforests. This is very difficult because of the predators they have to avoid along the way.