Sally Lightfoot Crabs are aptly named because of their swift movements and ability to quickly run in any direction. They are agile and possess incredibly quick reflexes, allowing them to outrun almost any predator. These colorful crabs appear in great numbers along the shores of the Galapagos Islands and their presence is very entertaining to tourists. Beautiful and photogenic, they are the subject of many souvenir pictures, social media posts, and even commercial photographs.
This confident little fellow was walking slowly over the mangrove roots at a popular beach on Santa Cruz Island in the Galapagos. He paused occasionally to pick at small items in the sand and push them into his mouth with both claws. This feeding behavior was very fascinating because he was eating something in the sand that only he could actually see. It's possible that the tiny morsels were minuscule shrimp that had washed up on shore, or even small insects. His mouth produced bubbles constantly as he ate. Crabs can live in water and also do well on land for extended periods, as long as their gills are kept moist enough to allow them to filter oxygen out of the air.
The crab kept a close watch on those who took pictures and filmed him. The stunning quality of the 4K camera footage shows his eyes, mouth, and even the hairs on his legs in perfect detail. The vivid colors and brilliant markings make this crab beautiful to behold.
Sally Lightfoot crabs are omnivores and are considered "janitors" of the beaches and shorelines. They eat dead, decaying animals, as well as algae and decaying seaweed. If not for these hardworking little animals, the accumulation of debris and organic matter in the sand at the oceans would create foul smelling and unpleasant beaches. It would also interfere with the complex and delicate ecosystems that thrive in these transition zones. This crab is more than just a pretty face. He's an essential part of the cleanup team along the rocky and sandy shores.