Natal Lightfoot Crab

natal lightfoot crab (Grapsus grapsus tenulcrustatus)

A natal lightfoot crab (Grapsus grapsus tenulcrustatus) shines in the night from the light of my flash, freshly emerged onto the rocks from a dousing wave.

The natal lightfoot crab inhabits the intertidal zone in Kwa Zulu Natal and are adept at hanging on to rocks and such while being pummeled by waves. Each leg has sharp claws especially designed for keeping a strong grip and the body is shaped to deflect the power of the wave off it when being pushed downwards. The name ‘lightfoot’ refers to the crab’s ability to scamper across the rocks at high speed.

They feed on algae and small animals found on the rocks. The males when mature are more brightly colored than females and juveniles. They grow to a size of 50 mm.

Kingdom:      Animalia
Phylum:         Arthropoda
Subphylum:  Crustacea
Class:             Malacostraca
Family:         Decapoda
Genus:          Grapsidae
Species:        G. Grapsus tenulcrustatus

About The Author

Alan Sutton is an underwater photographer and writer at Seaunseen.

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