Christmas Island Red Crabs

A small, bright red crab lives on the Australian territories of Christmas Island and also the Cocos (Keeland) Islands in the Indian Ocean. These crabs are known as Christmas Island red crabs (Gecarcoidea natalis).

Christmas Island red crabs live in the forest, but they make an annual mass migration to the ocean to lay their eggs. The migration takes place when the rainy season begins in October to November. The timing also coincides with the phases of the moon. The journey from the forested center of the island to the ocean takes at least a week. The males arrive first and dig burrows which they defend from other males. After mating, the males return to the forest, and the females stay for two weeks to lay their eggs. At precisely high tide during the last quarter of the moon, the females release their eggs into the ocean and then return to the forest.

When the eggs contact the water, they hatch. The larvae spend three to four weeks in the ocean where they go through several changes. At the end of those changes, they gather at the shore where they turn into young crabs. The young crabs then make a nine-day journey to the forest at the center of the island. For three years they stay hidden under fallen branches or debris or in rock outcroppings and eat fallen leaves, fruit, and flowers. When they are four or five years old, they join the annual migration to the sea.

As we look at the life cycle of Christmas Island red crabs, we can’t help but be amazed. How do the crabs know where to go to lay their eggs? How do the young crabs emerge from the sea and know to return to the place their parents came from? How could this whole process have happened by chance? We don’t think it was by chance. We see more evidence of a Designer.
© Roland Earnst

%d bloggers like this: