De Saussure, 1853
Gecarcinus quadratus, known as the red land crab, whitespot crab, Halloween crab, moon crab, mouthless crab or harlequin land crab, is a colourful land crab from the family Gecarcinidae.
G. quadratus is found in mangrove, sand dunes and rainforest along the Pacific coast from Mexico south to Peru. The taxonomy in relation to the Atlantic Gecarcinus lateralis is disputed, with many considering it and G. quadratus to be conspecific.
Description and behaviour
The carapace of G. quadratus may reach a length of 5 centimetres (2.0 in). It has a pair of largely purple claws, reddish-orange legs, and an almost entirely blackish carapace with a pair of yellow, orange or maroon spots behind the eyes, and an additional pair of whitish spots on the central-lower carapace.
This nocturnal crab digs burrows – sometimes as long as 1.5 metres (4.9 ft) – in the coastal rainforests of Central America, and is common along the coasts of Costa Rica, Panama, and Nicaragua. It lives in the forest at least some of its adult life, but needs to return to the ocean to breed. It is largely herbivorous, and consumes leaf litter and seedlings.
- Donald B. Bright & Charles L. Hogue (1972). "A synopsis of burrowing land crabs of the World and list of their arthropod symbionts and burrow associates" (PDF). Contributions in Science 220.
- T. Beth Kinsey. "Halloween Crab". The Firefly Forest. Retrieved July 28, 2011.
- Lawrence G. Abele, Michael H. Robinson & Barbara Robinson (1973). "Observations on sound productions by two species of crabs from Panama (Decapoda, Gecarcinidae and Pseudothelphusidae)" (PDF). Crustaceana 25 (2): 147–152. doi:10.1163/156854073X00795.
- Peter M. Sherman (2006). "Influence of land crabs Gecarcinus quadratus (Gecarcinidae) on distributions of organic carbon and roots in a Costa Rican rain forest" (PDF). Revista de Biología Tropical 54 (1): 149–161.
- Media related to Gecarcinus quadratus at Wikimedia Commons