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The Coconut Crab ( Birgus Latro )

is the largest land-living arthropod in the world, and is probably at the upper size limit of terrestrial animals with exoskeletons in today's atmosphere. It is also known as the robber crab or palm thief, because some coconut crabs are rumored to steal shiny items such as pots and silverware from houses and tents. The species inhabits the coastal forest regions of many Indo-Pacific islands, although localized extinction has occurred where the species lives close to humans. They are generally nocturnal and remain hidden during the day, emerging only on some nights to forage. It is a highly apomorphic hermit crab and is known for its ability to crack coconuts with its strong pincers to eat the contents. It is the only species of the genus Birgus, and is closely related to the terrestrial hermit crabs of the genus Coenobita.


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Taken on October 16, 2008