Crabs spawn in Ikemajima under a full moon

Crabs spawn in Ikemajima under a full moon

Okagani moved toward the edge of the water in the moonlight in Ikemajima, Miyakojima City on June 15 (photographed by Yugo Okita).


June 17, 2011 Ryukyu Shimpo

A species of terrestrial crab known as okagani (biological name: Discoplax hirtipes) were observed spawning on the night on June 15 on Ikemajima, which is located to the north of Miyako Island.
The crabs moved from the Ikema wetland to the seashore and spawned on the edge of the water. They held their eggs on their bellies as they moved down towards the sea in the moonlight.

Every year around the time of full moon on May 15 in the old lunar calendar they are usually observed spawning on Ikemajima, which has close distance between the wetland and the seashore. This year, the crabs started to move across the road on the island on June 15.

Some travel agencies went as far as arranging coach tours to watch the crabs spawn. So many people gathered that some of the crabs almost seemed to be afraid of the human presence and hesitated to go down to the edge of the water.
The crabs managed to get to the sea to shake their bodies in tune with the movement of the waves, spawning their progeny, which are about to hatch.

Seven year-old Keigo Taira and Ryushin Nakama, both in their first year at Hirara First Elementary School, watched the crabs spawn, saying, “It was the first time for us to see crabs spawn like this. It was really interesting.”

(English Translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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