Aquatic scientific names in the news …
3rd May 2017
Land crab migration
It’s that time of the year when land crab migrations tend to be in the news. The most recent reports are on the migration of red, yellow, and black land crabs in Cuba marching from the inland forests down to the sea at the Bay of Pigs. The species of land crabs involved in the Cuban migration is Gecarcinus ruricola.
After the first spring rains millions of female crabs migrate to the sea to spawn before returning to their burrows in the forests. In around 20 days the reverse will happen with millions of crab larvae emerging from the sea and migrating to the forests to spend the rest of their lives on land.
Image: Jonathan Wilkins
Gecarcinus ruricola (Linnaeus, 1758) variously called the Purple Land Crab, Black Land Crab, or Red Land Crab
Gecarcinus – Greek, Ge-, gh (γη), earth, ground, land; –carcinus, karkinos (καρκινος), crab.
ruricola – Latin, that lives in or belongs to the country, rural, rustic.
Note: the proliferation of common names owes to the existence of numerous colour morphs of this species including black, red, yellow, and green.