Australia post issued Eye Catching Christmas Island Robber Crabs Stamps featuring largest and best protected Robber Crab population in the world.
Christmas Island is home to the largest terrestrial arthropod on earth, the Robber Crab (Birgus latro), also known as the Coconut Crab.
It is found on islands across the Indian Ocean and parts of the Pacific Ocean as far east as the Gambier Islands.
Christmas Island Robber Crabs Stamps
The coconut crab, is a species of terrestrial hermit crab, also known as the robber crab or palm thief.
The coconut crab is the only species of the genus Birgus, and is related to the terrestrial hermit crabs of the genus Coenobita.
These are found in most parts of the island and usually venture out at night or on overcast days. They forage on vegetable material or carrion on the forest floor.
Adult coconut crabs feed on fruits, nuts, seeds, and the pith of fallen trees, but will eat carrion and other organic matter opportunistically.
The species is popularly associated with the coconut, and has been widely reported to climb trees to pick coconuts, which it then opens to eat the insides.
The Robber Crab is also found on other tropical islands in the Pacific and Indian Oceans, but Christmas Island supports the world’s largest population.
These huge crabs can weight up to four kilograms and have an impressive leg span of around 800mm.
On Christmas Island the crab’s body colour varies from light violet to deep purple, purplish-blue or orange-red to brown.
Unlike most crabs, the Robber Crab is almost entirely based on land, only returning to the sea to spawn. The female Robber Crab releases her eggs into the sea from the beach or from a cliff.
The island population of Robber Crabs was reduced in the late 1990s by invasions of the yellow crazy ant. An ongoing island-wide ant poisoning program has allowed the robber crab (and other land crab) population to recover to some extent.
Max Orchard, a former ranger on Christmas Island and author of Crabs of Christmas Island, knows his crabs! Max was also a consultant on this stamp issue.
The first day cover is a pictorial envelope with the three gummed Christmas Island Robber Crabs stamps issue affixed and postmarked – First day of issue | 26 April 2016 | Christmas Island WA 6798
Title: Christmas Island Robber Crabs Stamps Australia
Date of Issue: 26 April 2016
Denominations: $1 x 2, $2
Source: Australia Post