December 1, 2011

Sally Lightfoot Crabs

 One constant source of delight for us each and every day in the Galapagos were Sally Lightfoot Crabs. They're common to every island but because they are so adept at evading predators and getting away from everything that gets closer than they'd like, they are quite tame and easy to get close to. And the adults are a gorgeous red and yellow which contrasts with the black volcanic rock very pleasingly.
 Taking advantage of the consistently block volcanic rock, their juvenile morph is black to blend in with their surroundings, gradually going through a dark red and finally ending in their adult phase.
 The way they scuttle and leap about when you try to catch them apparently reminded the sailors of The Beagle back in the day of a table dancer they had known in a port somewhere named Sally Lightfoot. Whether she would have chosen to be immortalized by an obscure tropical crustacean or not has been lost to time, but leaves an already charming creature with a great backstory.
As an aside, every night when we did our checklists of the animals we had seen, our naturalist guide Juan had the most excellent way of naming them and we'd be wait for his 'SallyLIGHTfoot crab' to come along. Whether that comes across in type or not or if it would be amusing to anyone else I'm not sure, but his way of having the whole name as a single word is just fantastic.

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