Speaking with: Peter Green on saving the Christmas Island red crab


Peter Green, La Trobe University

Every year tens of millions of Christmas Island red crabs migrate from the island’s dense forest to the cliffs to spawn. It’s a phenomenon that literally stops traffic and draws tourists from around the world to the tiny Australian territory. The Conversation

But while there are still tens of millions of red crabs on the island, in recent years their numbers have dipped by around a third as they compete for space with (and struggle to fend off) a recently introduced pest: the yellow crazy ant.

The ants are having a significant impact on the island’s biodiversity, which relies on the red crab to maintain the forest understorey and keep the forest floor clean.

So what can be done to save Christmas Island’s biodiversity from yellow crazy ant supercolonies?

For the past few years a team of scientists have been hatching a plan to introduce a parasitical wasp to the island to cut the ant’s food supply. And in December they got the ball rolling on the delicate process of tipping the scales back in the crabs’ favour.

La Trobe University’s Matt Smith speaks with Peter Green, Head of the Department of Ecology, Environment and Evolution at La Trobe, about the impact of the yellow crazy ant and how his team’s plan to save the Christmas Island red crab is working in the first few months of its implementation.


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Peter Green, Head of Department, Ecology, Environment and Evolution, La Trobe University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

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Huge baby red crab return for Christmas Island


Parks Australia

A female with eggs, surrounded by returning babies A female with eggs, surrounded by returning babies

There’s a baby boom on Christmas Island, with a record number of baby red crabs returning from the ocean this year.

It’s thought to be the biggest return in 25 years.

Millions, perhaps even billions, of babies emerged from the sea in January – forming a stunning moving carpet across beaches, up sea cliffs, over walls, along roads and into the rainforest.

Park staff work with the community to protect crabs migrating and returning Park staff work with the community to protect crabs migrating and returning

The return migration follows December’s adult crab migration, when the female red crabs released their eggs into the sea. The large number of crabs returning is most likely a result of a number of factors including good sea conditions such as currents, swell, winds and temperatures.

Every year Christmas Island National Park rangers work with the local community to keep the crabs safe and to clear a path for…

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Baby red crabs continue to return


Parks Australia

Baby red crabs on Dolly Beach Baby red crabs on Dolly Beach | Image credit Julie Graham

Baby red crabs on Dolly Beach | Image credit Julie Graham Oh, baby! Image credit Julie Graham

Baby red crabs on Dolly Beach | Image credit Julie Graham Baby red crabs on Dolly Beach | Image credit Julie Graham

Baby red crabs on Dolly Beach | Image credit Julie Graham Baby red crabs on Dolly Beach | Image credit Julie Graham

The  baby red crabs are still returning to Christmas Island – The Cove has been busy with bubs, as well as east coast beaches Dolly Beach, Greta Beach, Ethel Beach and the resort beach.

These fantastic images from Dolly Beach show the spectacular scenes.

The babies will make their way to the forest to mature. In three years they’ll be ready to take part in the migration themselves!

Mike, Christmas Island National Park

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