Animals in Costa Rica, Nicoya Peninsula
Land Crabs - Tajalines
These colorful crabs come up from their underground homes in droves at the beginning of rainy season. They travel from their inland burrows to the coast where they lay their eggs. They walk a straight line on their way to the beach, passing through bedrooms and kitchens and anything else in their way.
While only 10 years ago you saw plenty of Tajalines in Santa Teresa and Mal Pais, the population has almost vanished by now. The booming development and heavy car traffic on the coastal road put a quick end to the land crabs in this region.
Land crabs exert a significant influence on tropical coastal forest ecosystems. They are among the major drivers of tree recruitment and they facilitate the development of coastal forests with activities as excavation of burrows, creation of soil mounds, aeration of soils, removal of leaf litter into burrows and creation of carbon-rich soil microhabitats.
Be careful when you pick up that beautiful shell on the beach for your collection:
it may already have an owner...
As the crabs have long, spirally curved abdomens, which are soft and vulnerable, they protect from predators by clinging with their back to the inner threads of an empty shell. The seashell is carried around by the hermit crab and on danger its whole body will retract inside. As the hermit crab grows in size, it must find a larger shell and abandon the previous one.
There is a lot of small wildlife like crabs and clams living in the sand. No cars, no quads should drive on the beach.