A field guide to Kenyan mangroves


Metopograpsus messor (Forskål, 1775)

Family: Grapsidae


Zone: This mangrove crab can be found in belt mangroves: A. marina or S. alba (Hartnoll, 1975) and on rocky shores (Macnae, 1968).

Habitat: under rotten wood or brush (Vannini and Valmori, 1981)

Food: Probably similar to Metopograpsus thukuhar and M. oceanicus.

Ecological notes: Climbs trees (Vannini et al., 1997). Not as common as Metopograpsus thukuhar in Gazi and Mida creek mangroves.

Distinguishing characteristics: Carapace and legs brownish green and irregularly mottled. Claws brownish red with clearer tips. Maximum carapace width about three times larger than posterior margin [compare with Metopograpsus thukuhar and M. oceanicus] (carapace width about 2 cm).

Geographical range: Red Sea, Persian Gulf, east coast of Africa, Madagascar (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'Università Degli Studi di Firenze, Via Romana 17, I-50125 Firenze, Italia.

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

Macnae, W., 1968. "A General Account of the Fauna and Flora of Mangrove Swamps ad Forests in the Indo-West-Pacific Region." Advanced Marine Biology 6:73-270.

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.

Vannini, M., A. Oluoch and R.K. Ruwa, 1997. Tree-climbing decapods of Kenyan mangroves. In Kjerfve, Björn, Luiz Drude de Lacerdaand El Hadji Salif Diop (eds.). Mangrove ecosystem studies in Latin America and Africa. UNESCO Technical Papers in Marine Science, Paris, France: 325-338.

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

Updated June 24, 2016