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  Coenobita violascens Heller, 1862
  Family Name : Coenobitidae

  Taxonomic Group : Invertebrates (Crustacean, Crab and Prawn)

  Common Names : Land Hermit Crab

Land Hermit Crab
  • Ecology, Habitat & Location
    • Ecological Notes :
      These hermit crabs inhabit the supralittoral zone of beaches and immediately adjacent beach forest/vegetation, where it forages for plant and animal matter. They are well adapted for terrestrial living and are able to breathe atmospheric air using modified gill chambers.
      Habitats :
      Marine, Sandy Shore
      Distribution :
      Wide western Pacific distribution. In Singapore, probably extinct on the mainland, and now restricted to Pulau Ubin (and probably Pulau Tekong) and the southern islands.
      Nature Areas :
      Pulau Tekong, Pulau Ubin
  • Conservation
    • Trends & Threats :
      The many beach improvement schemes, clearance of supposedly "unsightly" beach vegetation and debris have almost exterminated these once common animals from many of our shores by depriving them of shelter as well as food. In a twist of fate, some beach-cleanup exercises, done with the good intention of clearing up our polluted beaches, have resulted in the mass removal of unsightly and apparently "empty" shells which contain the crabs.
      Scientific Interest & Potential Value :
      The special features possessed by these animals in adapting to a terrestrial lifestyle have still not been studied properly. Coenobita violascens is often mistaken for or treated as a conspecific of C. cavipes, but can in fact be distinguished by its overall violet colouration and especially the fingers of the left claw. This large species is also commonly associated with mangrove habitats and used to be more common in Mandai and other mangrove swamps in the north.
      Conservation Notes :
      Sufficient stretches of good beaches and mangroves should be conserved in their natural state. Pragmatic and carefully thought-up beach cleanup operations should also be practiced.
  • Status
    • Singapore Red Data Book 2008 status :
      Vulnerable (VU)
  • References
    • Davison, G.W.H., Ng, P.K.L. & Ho, H.C (Eds.). 2008. The Singapore Red Data Book (2nd Edition). Singapore: Nature Society (Singapore). 285pp 

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