A field guide to Kenyan mangroves


Helice leachi Hess, 1865

Family: Varunidae


Zone: This crab occurs in the upper intertidal and at the base of banks near the terrestrial fringe, but with a daily inundation (Hartnoll, 1975; P.J.F. Davie, pers. comm.), also "mid-tidal" regions of mangrove swamps (Emmerson, 1994)

Habitat: Burrowing to about 40 cm depth (P.J.F. Davie, pers. comm.).

Food: Probably similar to other Sesarmids.

Ecological notes: Not common in East Africa (Hartnoll, 1975).

Distinguishing characteristics: Front rounded, two teeth behind antero-lateral one, carapace dark brown (carapace width ~ 1.0 to 1.5 cm)

Geographical range: East Africa, Australia, New Caledonia, Formosa, Japan (Vannini and Valmori, 1981).


Cannicci, S., F. Dahdouh-Guebas and L. Montemagno, 1993. "Field Keys for Kenyan Mangrove Crabs." Museo Zoologico "La Specola", Dipartimento di Biologia Animale e Genetica dell'UniversitÓ Degli Studi di Firenze, Via Romana 17, I-50125 Firenze, Italia.

Emmerson, W.D., 1994. A note on three uncommon southern African grapsids, Helice leachii Hess, 1865, Sesarma (Sesarma) longipes Krauss, 1843 and Sesarma (Sesarma) smithi H. Milne Edwards, 1853. Crustaceana 67(3): 316-323.

Hartnoll, R.G., 1975. "The Grapsidae and Ocypodidae (Decapoda: Brachyura) of Tanzania." J. Zool. Lond. 177:305-328.

Robertson, A.I. and P.A. Daniel, 1989. The influence of crabs on litter processing in high intertidal mangrove forests in tropical Australia. Oecologia 78: 191-198.

Vannini, M. and P. Valmori, 1981. Researchers on the coast of Somalia. The shore and the dune of Sar Uanle. 30. Grapsidae (Decapoda Brachyura). Monitore Zoologico Italiano 6: 57-101.

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all text and photographs copyrightę 2002-2016 David Gillikin and Anouk Verheyden
Created 28 August 2001

Updated June 24, 2016