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January 30, 2009
The species Grapsus grapsus, more commonly known as the “Sally Lightfoot Crab” inhabits the coast of tropical and sub-tropical South and North America. The crab’s shell measure 1.97 to 3.14 inches (5 to 8 cm) across and are bright red with various patterns. These animals only come out during low tide to feed. Otherwise, most of their time is spent hiding in between the crevices along the rocky shoreline. While feeding, the Sally Lightfoot Crab flattens its body against stones and grips tightly, preventing itself from being swept away by the strong ocean currents. Despite their small size, the Grapsus grapsus has incredible agility and speed, which helps it to avoid predation. The Sally Lightfoot Crab plays a significant role in the regulation of the marine environment, fulfilling multiple functions as grazers, predators and scavengers. They clean up beaches by consuming broken eggs and animal droppings.