Flora index
Fauna index
guide to the mangroves of singapore
Peter K L Ng and N Sivasothi (editors)
  Sesarmine crabs
Family Grapsidae

Sesarmines, as subfamily of the Grapsidae, are the dominant crabs in mangroves, with almost 40 species in Singapore. Most are burrowers, but they also hide in crevices and climb trees.

One of the reasons for their success is their ability to live in extreme environments. They are able to 'recycle' deoxygenated water by pumping this water through a dense mat of hairs on the face and/or carapace thereby aerating it before re-circulating it into their gill chamber!

Sesarmines are also very adaptable, feeding on a wide range of foodstuffs, although most are mainly herbivores.

Many species can also communicate by stridulating—they rub distinctly patterned granules on their claws against ridges on their face.

The Mound crab (Sarmatium germaini, 3 cm) is a heavy-bodied animal, hiding in burrows under mud lobster mounds. They drag mangrove leaves into their deep burrows for food.

The common Face-banded sesarmine (Chiromantes eumolpe, 3 cm) has an irridescent green or blue band on the face and deep red claws.

Other genera are Episesarma and Selatium.

<<Back to crustacea
close-up of orange claws
Sarmatium germaini

close-up of colourful crab on mud
Chiromantes eumolpe
with blue face-band

close-up of colourful crab on mud
Chiromantes eumolpe
with green face-band
What is mangrove?

The Ecosystem


Indirect uses
Potential uses

About Mangroves
in Singapore

Mangroves to visit
From "A Guide to Mangroves of Singapore", Peter K. L. Ng and N. Sivasothi (editors)
Volume 1: The Ecosystem and Plant Diversity and Volume 2: Animal Diversity
Authors: Kelvin K. P. Lim, Dennis H. Murphy, T. Morgany, N. Sivasothi, Peter K. L. Ng,
B. C. Soong, Hugh T. W. Tan, K. S. Tan & T. K. Tan
BP Guide to Nature Series published by the Singapore Science Centre, sponsored by British Petroleum
2001 Raffles Museum of Biodiversity Research, The National University of Singapore & The Singapore Science Centre