Moon Crab at Devbagh Beach, Karwar

by S Karthikeyan
S Karthikeyan

Chosen as 'Picture of the Week'

Moon Crabs have a very wide distribution. They are known to occur all the way from the Red Sea, through much of Asia to Australia where they are common in the Great Barrier Reef.

While walking along the water’s edge one evening during a visit to the Devbagh Beach Resort near Karwar, I was treated to one of the most beautiful creatures that I had ever seen. It was probably a crab though the spines on either side of its body and legs gave it a very non-crab appearance at first sight.

The creature that I was staring at had an almost circular body, which was about 4 cm across. But the flattened appendages intrigued me and left me wondering what these adaptations could possibly mean. It dawned on me that this was the Moon Crab (Matuta sp.), also sometimes referred to as the Sandy shore crab. It spends the day buried in sand. Its spade-like appendages are used to dig into the sand more than for swimming.

When these crabs come out to forage in the night, they are known to feed on small creatures -– be it worms, clams, and other small animals -– that they can overpower.

Adult females are capable of producing more than one batch of eggs from a single mating with each batch containing about 65,000 eggs!

Moon Crabs have a very wide distribution. They are known to occur all the way from the Red Sea, through much of Asia to Australia where they are common in the Great Barrier Reef.

About the author

S Karthikeyan
Karthikeyan is the chief naturalist of Jungle Lodges & Resorts based in Bangalore.


Comments

Leave a Reply