Birgus latro   (Linnaeus,  1767) (Crab)
Organism information awaits expert curation
Class: Malacostraca

Image copyrights: Auscape International

Mating occurs near the sea. After this the female lives within 100 metres of the sea to regularly moisten herself with seawater. The young (zoea) are spawned from the eggs into the water. The zoea takes 3-6 weeks to go through 4-5 zoea stages and form an amphibious stage called a glaucothoe. The benthic, shrimplike glaucothoe finds a minute shell and after 3-4 weeks it migrates ashore. After about 4 weeks of living around the high tide mark, it transforms into a juvenile crab, which continues to use a gastropod shell for 1-2 years, and lives very secretively in burrows.

They are solitary and usually nocturnal, especially where human activity is frequent.

Synonym (s)
Cancer latro Linnaeus, 1767

Common Name (s)
• Palm Thief (English)
• Coconut Crab (English)
• Robber Crab (English)
Economic Importance and Threats
Importance:  Commercial
Threats:  Anthropogenic
(Over-harvested, because of its complex life-cycle and slow growth rate.)

Habitat:  Demersal



Literature Source(s)
  • Khan, SA and Kariathil, TJ Endemism Anenigma Available at -
  • (1995) The A B C of the Indian wildlife (protection) act schedules as amended in 1991 Zoos' Print Journal Zoo Outreach Organisation, Coimbatore 10(2) 21-32 Available at - NCL, Pune
  • Debelius, H (2001) Crustacea Guide of the world 11-318 Available at - CMFRI, Kochi
  • Society for the Management of European Biodiversity Data (2009) World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) Available at -
  • Sealifebase Available at -
  • (2003) IUCN Red list of threatened species Available at -

Page last updated on:2010-10-30

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