Infra-order Brachyura, Family Varunidae

Orchard's cave crab | Orcovita orchardorum  Davie & Ng, 2012

A small crab with an orangish-yellow to pale yellowish-white carapace up to 25–30 mm wide. Males have long dense dark brown hair at the base of the fingers of the claws. Female’s claws are smaller and without hairs.

Found in tidally and freshwater influenced brackish anchialine habitats.

This species and Orcovita hicksi are the first records of this genus from both the Indian Ocean and Australia. Named after an enigmatic and charismatic ex-Chief Ranger on Christmas Island, alluding to their setose similarities.

Orchard's cave crab

Read more about Christmas Island's Orchard's cave crab in the book

"Crabs of Christmas Island" by Max Orchard


Davie, P. J. F. & P. K. L. Ng, 2012. Two new species of Orcovita (Crustacea: Decapoda: Brachyura: Varunidae) from anchialine caves on Christmas Island, eastern Indian Ocean. Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, 60: 57–70.

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Images by Max Orchard unless indicated otherwise