The Mystery of Sally Lightfoot

Who is Sally Lightfoot?

  • a Canadian figure skater
  • a British news reporter
  • a Galapagos Island crab

Surprise!

Sally Lightfoot is a Galapagos Island crab. Possibly named for the energetic dancing of crab2the Caribbean Sea islands – a name that fits this very active little crab. 

These amazing crustaceans leap, hop, skitter, run, walk, jump, and fly across the water on lava rocks pitted with holes. It seems they are afraid of getting in the water. 

They launch out from a rock to the next target, sometimes missing and swimming frantically to the safety of the target rock. 

With five pairs of legs, they ‘tip-toe’ on pointy toes (they have no feet) gripping the holes firmly to keep from being swept out to sea by ocean waves. These ‘busy-bodies’ can run in four directions and climb up vertical slopes.

Colorful Clowns

Also found along the Pacific coasts of South and Central America, they present a show of agility and color. Flashing red-orange shells with yellow and blue stomachs, large groups travel along shoreline rocks as ‘garbage crabs’, cleaning up any edible debris.  

Their brightly-colored carapace (shells) are 3-5 inches across, weigh up to 1/2 pound, and fit into the palm of your hand. 

Gymnastic maneuvers help them avoid predators, like the Galapagos lava herons, octopus, eels, and tuna fish.

Sally Lightfoot and the Iguana Lizard

Iguanas and Sally Lightfoot crabs have a symbiotic relationship – where they benefit each other. The crabs groom the Iguanas, nibbling on the parasites that plague the lizards.

crab3

A Crab for All Times

It is good to know that, in the troubled times of our human world, there are little creatures like the Sally Lightfoot crab. Their struggles for survival give us a moment of delight and a perspective on the tenacity, beauty, and continuity of life in the wild.

Watch the Sally Lightfoot Crab in nature!

Here’s a Sally Lightfoot Crab Coloring Page. Have Fun!

 

Categories: Animals

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