Infra-order Brachyura, Superfamily Grapsoidae, Family Sesarmidea

Yellow-eyed crab | Chiromantes garfunkel  Davie & Ng, 2013  

This crab has been known as “Chiromantes obtusifrons” since 1934. It is in fact not this species. It differs markedly in color and behavior from what is called Chiromantes obtusifrons from the Pacific.

The identity of Chiromantes obtusifrons (Dana, 1851), previously considered widespread in the tropical West Pacific region to the eastern Indian Ocean, is now revised and found to be a species-complex. Chiromantes obtusifrons is now considered endemic to the Hawaiian Islands, and four new species have been described from Guam, Taiwan and Christmas Island.

The Christmas Island species has been named for Art Garfunkel, who sang “Bright Eyes” for the soundtrack of the 1978 animated film Watership Down. Like the rabbit to which the song alludes, the new crab species also lives in holes, and is remarkable for its brightly shining eyes.

Read more about Christmas Island's yellow-eyed crab in the book

"Crabs of Christmas Island" by Max Orchard


Davie, P. J. F. & P. K. L. Ng, 2013. A review of Chiromantes obtusifrons (Dana, 1851) (Decapoda: Brachyura: Sesarmidae), with descriptions of four new sister-species from Christmas Island (Indian Ocean), Guam and Taiwan. Zootaxa, 3609(1):1–25.

Yellow-eyed crab

Text and images contained in this site may be copied or reproduced for study, research, information or educational purposes, subject to inclusion of an acknowledgement of the source.

Images by Max Orchard unless indicated otherwise