The Giant Mud Crab, also known as the Knysna Mud Crab, is a fascinating species found in the Knysna Lagoon. These crabs are known for their large size, with a maximum carapace width of up to 25cm, making them one of the largest mud crabs found in South Africa. They are unique to the Knysna Lagoon and are highly sought after by both commercial and recreational fishers.
The Giant Mud Crab is a bottom-dwelling species that can be found in the mud and sand in the intertidal and subtidal zones of the lagoon. They are most active during the night, feeding on bivalves, fish and other crustaceans. Their hard exoskeleton and powerful claws make them formidable predators, and they are known to fight fiercely when caught.
These crabs have a long mating season, which takes place from November to June. During this time, the males develop a larger, more colorful carapace, which they use to attract a mate. The female lays her eggs on her abdomen and carries them for several weeks, until they hatch into larvae.
Despite their popularity, the Giant Mud Crab population in the Knysna Lagoon is under threat from overfishing, pollution, and habitat destruction. To help protect this species, there are regulations in place for the size and number of crabs that can be caught, as well as restrictions on the use of certain fishing gear.
Visitors to the Knysna Lagoon can see the Giant Mud Crab in its natural habitat by taking a boat tour or kayaking in the lagoon. It’s also possible to sample these delicious crustaceans at local restaurants. Whether you’re a fan of seafood or just interested in the local wildlife, the Giant Mud Crab is a must-see species during a visit to the Knysna area.