Red Crab Den

Red Crab Den

Video. Despite being tired from their long migration, the male crabs prepare a den for the female and after mating with her return to the forest.

Grades

6 - 12+

Subjects

Biology, Ecology

Program
Great Migrations

Red crabs are native to Christmas Island, Australia. The central plateau of Christmas Island is dominated by strands of rain forest. The island has a tropical climate and experiences both a wet season (December through April) and a dry season (May through November).

More than 120 million red crabs can be found on the rain forest floor of Christmas Island. Red crabs live alone in dirt burrows, or deep rock crevices. Crabs stay in the shade of their dwelling for most of the year. In October or November, when the wet season is about to return, crabs begin their migration to the shore. This timing coincides with the lunar cycle and the tides.

This video documents the first phase of the red crab migration, just before the start of the wet season. After spending a majority of the year in the forest, males journey to the shore. There, they dig burrows for the females, and then search for a mate. After mating, the female descends into the burrow, and the male returns to the forest.

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Editor
National Geographic Society
Page Producer
Makayla Trotter
Producer
Nina Page, National Geographic Society
other
Last Updated

May 20, 2022

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