A field guide to Kenyan mangroves


Metopograpsus oceanicus (Jacquinot, 1852)

Family: Grapsidae


Zone: This crab can be found in narrow belt mangroves (Hartnoll, 1975), typically on seaward R. mucronata and S. alba trees

Habitat: Climbing on living trees and under dead trunks, occasionally on the forest floor to capture prey (Vannini et al., 1997).

Food: leaves, algae mollusks (Dahdouh-Guebas et al., 1999) and crustaceans (Vannini et al., 1997).

Ecological notes: Can be common as in Gazi Bay; Does not dig but may exploit burrows of other species as temporary refuge (Vannini et al., 1997).

Distinguishing characteristics: One tooth behind the antero-lateral one, posterior margin wider than Metopograpsus messor and Metopograpsus thukuhar (carapace width about 2 cm). The largest Metopograpsus species in Kenya.

Geographical range: Africa: Kenya and Tanzania, but not Somalia (Vannini and Valmori, 1981), Papua New Guinea (Giese et al., 1996).


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.

Dahdouh-Guebas, F., M. Giuggioli, A. Oluoch, M. Vannini & S. Cannicci, 1999. "Feeding habits of non-ocypodid crabs from two mangrove forests in Kenya." Bull. Mar. Sci. 64(2): 291-297.

Giese C, Mebs D, Werding B, 1996. Resistance and vulnerability of crustaceans to cytolytic sea anemone toxins. TOXICON 34 (8): 955-958.

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