Robber Crabs as the most exotic terrestrial arthropod in the world. 3 bright stamps released by Christmas Island Post

May 4th, 2016

The coconut crab is the largest land crab in the world. It can grow up to 60cm from head to tail. It is huge! To underline the uniqueness of these animals Christmas Island Post has released three special stamps depicting these unusual and really huge crabs. encourages every philately enthusiast to add these items to their collections.

Christmas Island is home to the largest terrestrial arthropod on earth, the Robber Crab (Birgus latro), also known as the Coconut Crab. 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.

The Robber Crab depicted on three new philatelic items 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.

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.