Sally Lightfoot or red lava crab, Puerto Egas, Santiago / San Salvador / James Island, Galápagos Islands, Ecuador.
Sally Lightfoot or red lava crab (Grapsus grapsus) at Puerto Egas on Santiago (or San Salvador, or James) Island, in the Galápagos archipelago, a province of Ecuador, South America. Grapsus grapsus is one of the most common crabs along the western coast of South America, and can also be seen along the entire coast of Central America and Mexico and nearby islands. This crab has five pairs of legs, the front two bearing small, blocky, symmetrical chelae. The other legs are broad and flat, with only the tips touching down. The crab's round, flat carapace is just over 8 cm (3 inches) in length. Young crabs are black or dark brown in color and camouflage well on the black lava coasts of volcanic islands. Adults are quite variable in color. Some are muted brownish-red, some mottled or spotted brown, pink, or yellow. The ones seen on photographs of tropical island fauna are often bright orange or red with stripes or spots dorsally, blue and green ventrally, and sporting red claws and pink or blue eyes. This crab lives amongst the rocks at the often turbulent, windy shore, just above the limit of the seaspray. It feeds on algae primarily, sometimes sampling plant matter and dead animals. It is a quick-moving and agile crab, and hard to catch, but not considered very edible by humans. It is used as bait by fishermen. Published in "Light Travel: Photography on the Go" book by Tom Dempsey 2009, 2010.Add to Cart Add to Lightbox Download