Red Crab Eggs

Red Crab Eggs

Video. Red crab eggs hatch in the ocean into larvae which change into little crabs when they reach land. The crabs migrate based solely on instinct, and survive hazards because of their large numbers.


6 - 12+



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 third and final stage of the red crab migration, after the eggs have been released into the ocean. The crab larvae remain in the water for about a month, growing through several larval stages. Few are able to survive the harsh ocean currents and marine predators. Those that survive shed their larval casing and begin the journey back into the rain forest, battling predators, such as the yellow crazy ant, along the way.

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

October 19, 2023

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