Sally Lightfoot, Galapagos, Ecuador by Fiona Ruck

Picture Story

This very colourful crab with amazing pink eyes acquired its name probably from the fact that it is very light on its ‘feet’ being able to outmanoeuvre almost anything. It can run very fast, jump and seemingly fly to avoid predators. It can even walk on water over short distances. Because of their pointed pincers and claws, they can get a firm hold on the lava rocks which are abundant on the Galapagos Islands where I found them. This enables them to hold on tight, even when powerful waves crash over them. The baby crabs are much darker in colour to blend in with the surrounding lava to camouflage and protect them from predators. They moult several times a year and each time become more colourful more like their parents.
This crab has a symbiotic relationship with the marine Iguana. The crab cleans the Iguana by eating parasites and dead skin from the Iguana’s body - the Iguana is cleaned and the crab get a ‘delicious’ meal of dead skin..a win-win situation.
Apart from eating Algae and seaweed, baby sea turtles, bird droppings, dead fish, Sally Lightfoot is a beach scavenger and will eat just about anything it can find. They play an important role in the Galapagos coastal ecosystem, keeping beaches clean of organic matter.

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