I am planning on getting some Halloween Crabs (Gecarcinus quadratus) for my birthday soon but I still have a few unanswered questions I. Dry season distribution of land crabs, Gecarcinus quadratus (Crustacea: Gecarcinidae), in Corcovado National Park, Costa Rica. Megan E. Griffiths1,2, Basma. Rev Biol Trop. Mar;54(1) Influence of land crabs Gecarcinus quadratus (Gecarcinidae) on distributions of organic carbon and roots in a Costa .

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Not Listed Carapace Length: The Halloween crab occurs in near-coastal areas from the Gulf of California in Mexico as far south as Colombia. Moon crab, harlequin land crab, Mexican land crab, mouthless crab. The Halloween crab has an apparently completely black actually dark brown when examined closely upper carapace, a bright orange-red body and limbs and purple claws.

Note the white spots towards the rear of the carapace.

The patterning of this crab is unique, particularly the combination of purple claws and orange-red limbs. It is sometimes mistaken for Gecarcinus lateralis ; this species has whitish to orange-red claws and the upper carapace is rimmed with the same colour.


Red Land Crab (Gecarcinus quadratus) ·

Gecarcinus ruricola has darker, purple limbs and a purplish carapace without ‘eyes’. Neither species possesses white spots at the rear of the carapace.

Primarily mangroves and lowland rainforest, often along river banks. This species is dependent on habitats with readily available sources of freshwater, to prevent desiccation of its lungs. In southern Costa Rica, the crab can be found up to m inland.


A principally fossorial land crab, active during the daytime and most commonly encountered following heavy rain. During the wet season, crabs migrate to the coast in large numbers to spawn. Adults eat leaves and seeds, removing them from the surface and hoarding them in quadratud burrows. By doing they play an important role in structuring forest habitat where they occur see Ecology.

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Young crabs forage gevarcinus the coastline for small particles. The planktonic stage in this species lasts for at least a month, following which young crabs settle and develop in coastal habitats.

The Halloween crab is an ecosystem engineer. The crabs can occur at quacratus densities, up to 6 per m -2and the removal of large quantities of leaf litter from forest topsoils influences carbon storage and nutrient cyclingreducing the carbon and mineral content of the topsoil and enriching lower soil layers.


The species preferentially feeds on the seeds of particular types of plant, favouring the persistence of some at the expense of others. These mechanisms have the overall effect of reducing tree density and diversity in forests where the crab occurs.

Crab burrows established near the ocean during the breeding season may also provide breeding grounds for mosquitoes once abandoned. The crab itself is an important food source for raccoons Procyon lotor where the species occur together.

The decapod crustaceans of Estero qhadratus Verde. Gecarcinus quadratus de Saussure, Gecarcinidae – Land Crabs Order: Decapoda Brachyura – Crabs Class: Animalia Red List status:

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