Definition of coconut crab in US English:

coconut crab


  • A large terrestrial crablike crustacean that climbs coconut palms to feed on the nuts, found on islands in the Indo-Pacific area.

    Birgus latro, family Paguridae

    Also called robber crab
    • ‘Enormous coconut crabs live in the trees and giant monitor lizards stalk in the undergrowth.’
    • ‘One of the more notable recent invaders is the large coconut crab, a hermit crab restricted to islands in the Pacific and Indian Oceans.’
    • ‘You'll be happy to know that international cuisine features strongly, as well as local specialties including coconut crab and wild pigeon cooked island style in ground ovens.’
    • ‘Though we were actually searching for coconut crabs, this encounter became a moment I will always remember amongst the other riches of this majestic island.’
    • ‘She had to keep the kitchen spotless as every night giant coconut crabs came down from the palm trees to see what they could find.’


So named because it climbs trees to reach coconuts.