Blog Description

Mound House Happenings shares the latest in ongoing projects, site improvements, scheduled programs and events, plus interesting facts and photos on our unique archaeology, history and ecology.

Mound House

Mound House
October 15, 2013

Friday, August 17, 2012

Creature Feature #17

# 17 - THE MANGROVE TREE CRAB (Aratus pisonii)

There is an impressive array of wildlife living on the Mound House site. Some on land, some in the surrounding waters, and some perfectly at home in either environment, such as this weeks’ subject : THE MANGROVE TREE CRAB

The mangrove tree crab makes its home among the roots and branches of the mangroves that line our shore here at Mound House. They can be seen crawling high up into the top limbs or even crossing the road on occasion, making their way home after a long evening or on the way out to dinner. Thriving on a diet of plant and animal material including mangrove leaves, seagrasses, worms and small crustaceans, the mangrove tree crab is perfectly adapted to is unusual environment where it lives both in the water and on land. This makes the mangrove tree crab an important link in the conversion of plant biomass into zooplankton, which serves as component to the base of the estuarine food chain. Though extremely fast and able to scamper out of the way of most visitors, mangrove tree crabs are small and seldom exceed the size of a quarter.         
Predation is tough on the mangrove tree crab. As larvae, they are preyed upon by a variety of other zooplankton, filter feeders like barnacles, hydroids and anemones. As adults, larger fish ,wading birds and even other crabs target this species.