Kaveu, coconut crab
Tikehau coconut crabs, also known by the scientific name Birgus latro, are a fascinating and emblematic species of the terrestrial fauna of Tikehau atoll, located in French Polynesia. These giant crabs amaze visitors and play a crucial role in the local ecosystem.
Coconut crabs are among the world's largest land crabs, reaching a wingspan of almost a meter and weighing up to 4 kilograms. Their imposing appearance is characterized by a robust carapace of varied colors, often punctuated by lighter spots. Their massive claws enable them to climb trees and their impressive pincers to break coconuts for food.
These crabs play a crucial ecological role as scavengers and decomposers. They feed on decomposing organic matter, helping to maintain a balance in the ecosystem. Coconut crabs also play a role in seed dispersal. As they travel great distances, they unwittingly carry seeds into their environment, helping to regenerate local vegetation.
Coconut crab reproduction is a complex process. Females lay their eggs in the sea, where the larvae develop. After a phase of marine life, the larvae return to land, where they undergo a metamorphosis to become land crabs. This migration between water and land is a unique feature of their life cycle.
In short, the coconut crabs of Tikehau are extraordinary creatures that embody the biodiversity and richness of French Polynesia. Their impressive size, crucial ecological role and fascinating life cycle make them an emblematic species that deserves to be protected and celebrated for future generations.