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International > The picture of the week > Christmas Island red crab

Picture of the week (No.30): Christmas Island red crab, Australia.                            Share  Share

Each week (actually currently 1 or 2 times a month), Willgoto selects here a nice picture. The red crab of Christmas Island (Australia) is the theme of the thirtieth picture of this series. The annual migration of Christmas Island red crabs is indeed the main tourist attraction of the island and one of the most famous animal migrations in the world.

Christmas Island red crab
Christmas Island red crab (Australia) when migrating to the coast.
The country. Christmas Island is located in the Indian Ocean 350 km south of Java (Indonesia). Since 1958, it is part of Australia, which is approximately 1500 km away. It has an area of 136 km², two thirds of which form a national park.

Christmas Island remained a haven of biodiversity for a long time. The island was indeed inhabited only from the end of the XIX century when its phosphate mines began to be exploited. As these mines have been exhausted, tourism becomes the main economic resource of the island. The population of the island does not exceed 2000 inhabitants. The island is home to one of the offshore detention centers for refugees who want to immigrate to Australia. Closed at the end of 2018, this center would have been reopened in 2019.

Holidays. Christmas Island National Park is the island's main asset. The flora of the park varies significantly depending on the location (seaside or not) and the altitude. It has 16 plant species that are only found on this island. Much of the park is made up of tropical rainforests.

What is unique in Christmas Island is the abundance and diversity of land crabs. There would be more than 40 million crabs on the island. The most common species is the Christmas Island red crab. Rightly, the island is called the "Kingdom of Crabs." Land crabs feed on leaf litter, abundant tree fruits and seedlings lying on the rainforest floor. Land crabs are those that depend on the ocean only for the development of their larvae. 

A large migration of Christmas Island crabs occurs every year: after the start of the rainy season, usually in October-November, and in synchronization with the cycle of the moon, the land crabs leave in great mass the forest to go and breed on the shores of the island. Males usually arrive first and dig their burrows. They are joined by females. After mating, males return to the forest. Females stay in the burrow for another two weeks to lay their eggs, then at the end of incubation, they release the larvae into the ocean at high tide and then return to the forest. The larvae feed at sea for a few weeks before returning to live in the forest.

You may want also to see these beautiful pictures from Australia:


Great Barrier Reef

Whitsunday Island

Kangaroo Island

This phenomenon, unique in the world, attracts many foreign tourists. The next spawning periods of Christmas Island crabs would take place between November 22-24 and 21-23 December, 2019 and between November 10-12 and December 9-11, 2020 (inquire in advance for more details). It must rain a lot before the migration; otherwise, the crabs will remain in their burrows and the migration will be abandoned. Otherwise, the crabs would be cooked under the sun.

Christmas Island National Park is also home to several seabirds, including the Christmas Island Frigatebird and the Abbott's Booby, two rare endemic species of the island. It is a favorite destination for bird watching.

Christmas Island is also popular with fishing and scuba diving enthusiasts. Off the coast of the island, you can find some of the most beautiful diving sites in Australia.

How to get there: Traveling by air is the most usual way to go to Christmas Island. Flights take place from Perth (twice a week), Jakarta (weekly) and Kuala Lumpur (every two weeks).

The author of the pictures
. The above photo from Christmas Island belongs to Dirk Wuyts, head of the ADC diving club Antwerp / Deurne. See the travelogue and photos of his trip to Christmas Island. The other pictures from Australia belong to Willgoto's Australian partners.

See also:
Picture of the week 1: Bee hummingbird, the smallest bird in the world. It is endemic to Cuba.
Picture of the week 2: Pagoda of the Golden Rock in Myanmar. It is one of the most sacred Buddhist sites in the world.
Picture of the week 3: Seychelles beach. Seychelles is a perfect destination for a dream holiday.
Picture of the week 4: Lemur of Madagascar (Coquerel's sifaka), an endangered species of primates, which, like all other species of lemurs, is endemic to Madagascar.
Picture of the week 5: World heritage in Cambodia. The temple of Banteay Srei, better known as 'Citadel of the women', in Cambodia is a jewel of Khmer art and a world heritage site.
Picture of the week 6: Bull shark and tiger shark. Both sharks are unfortunately known for fatal attacks on humans. However, experienced divers can approach them and swim with them.
Picture of the week 7: Firewalking in Mauritius. Walking barefoot over a bed of hot embers is an ancestral religious practice.

And many more pictures of the week including:
Picture of the week 19: The Beaches of Isla Mujeres(Cancun). They are much appreciated by holidaymakers, especially those who come from Europe and the United States in winter.
Picture of the week 20: Tourist attractions of Sri Lanka. Sri Lanka offers a wide range of attractions that make it a tourist destination visited by a growing amount of holidaymakers.
Picture of the week 21: Tourist attractions of Thailand The White Temple (Wat Rong Khun) in Chiang Rai, famous for its whiteness as pure as unusual, is one of the many attractions of Thailand.
Picture of the week 22: The Mekong Falls, better known as Khone Falls, located in southern Laos only a few kilometers from Cambodia prevent navigation between the two countries.
Picture of the week 23: Sloths of Tropical America, These mammals are so named because they sleep a long time and they only move slowly.
Picture of the week 24: Tulum, the Pearl of the Mayan Riviera, Tulum is one of the most popular tourist destinations of the Riviera Maya in Mexico.
Picture of the week 25: The tourist attractions of Aachen. The Aachen Cathedral is one of the first sites that have been inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List
Picture of the week 26: Beaches in Cape Verde. Cape Verde is a popular holiday destination throughout the twelve months of the year.
Picture of the week 27: Outdoor activities in Reunion Island, France. Reunion island is indeed an ideal destination for leisure and outdoor activities.
Picture of the week 28: Beach of Zanzibar. Zanzibar is a dream destination for sunny beach holidays particularly after a long safari in East Africa.
Picture of the week 29: Fauna of Costa Rica. Costa Rica is an ideal destination for all enthusiasts of wildlife.

See all our
"Pictures of the week".



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The annual migration of Christmas Island red crabs is the main tourist attraction of the island and one of the most famous animal migrations in the world.