Found in the Galapagos Islands and across the western coast of South and Central America, the Sally lightfoot are known for its bright and striking colors. Sometimes called the red rock crab, these crustaceans range from dark red to bright orange to nearly brown. They also have an underside that can be light yellow, white, or blue – or even a combo of all three! Keep reading to learn more about this colorful crustaceans.
When the Bright Sally Light foot Crab’s eggs hatch, they’re black with small red spots. However the cool part is the crabs begin to change colors as they grow up. Not only this but each time they change their shell, their red spots get bigger until the crab is eventually all red, hence why they are called red rock crabs.
Their name origin is still debated. There are rumors to have been named after a Caribbean dancer, but we believe it is mostly because of their ability to run very fast, leap, jump, and seemingly fly to avoid predators, and their capacity to climb up vertical slopes.
The Sally light-foot crab has a simple diet, generally feeding on anything from sea lion placenta to other crabs. That is why they are an important part of the ecosystem, as they provide services such as keeping the shore clean of any organic debris and eating ticks off marine iguanas.
The relationship between these crabs and the Galapagos Iguanas has created what is known as a symbiosis, where the sally light-foot crab eats the parasites and the dead skin of the marine iguana and the crab gets a delicious meal. Learn more about Galapagos’ species here.
Encountering Them In The Wild
These marine animals live on the rocks of the coastline between the turbulence and the strong winds on the banks. When the crabs aren’t mating or feeding, they spend their time hiding in the crevices of the rocks. If they get upset, they can spray water or even lose one of their legs as a defense mechanism.
Photo Tip: When you get too close to these crabs, they run to hide behind the rocks. So, if you want take a good picture, you should stay still for a while and the crabs will come out of their hiding place.
If you want to see these colorful crabs up close, come visit us in the Galapagos! Start planning your trip by making the newest Galapagos hotel your home base. Ikala Galapagos Hotel have a premium location, and offer many services and amenities, along with comfortable suites to enjoy the best of the archipelago.