Crabby & Foul-tempered Frances

Foul-tempered & slow-moving Hurricane Frances made landfall on Hutchinson Island on September 5, 2004, leaving many residents feeling quite crabby and wishing that we could have – like the blue land crabs (Cardisoma guanhumi) – plugged up our burrows to wait out the storm. After we were allowed back on the barrier island a few days after the storm had ‘passed’, I photographed 2 land crabs in our yard ‘driven’ to reproduce …
Indian River County is toward the northern limit of the range of these tropical crabs that are well-distributed throughout coastal areas of the Caribbean and south American. They live within about five miles of the coast where they can construct a burrow that reaches down to the water table, where 1 – 2 liters of water is held.

Female crabs on the barrier island carry their eggs to the Atlantic ocean, and eggs are deposited in the Indian River Lagoon by inland crabs.

Right now the crabs are quite active in our yard …
… and at (Pelican Island) Audubon House where Office Manager Bob Montanaro has documented their curious climbing capabilities …
Click here to see Bob’s photo essay or here for video of a female crab identified by her light coloration.

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