Tokelau Crabs

Being an island nation, Tokelau is home to lots of types of marine life. This stamp issue takes a look at just four species of crab that you might find scuttling along the shores of Tokelau’s atolls.
 

Issue information

There are ten recorded species of crab that live on the islands of Tokelau. All the land crabs are nocturnal scavengers and they come in an array of shapes and sizes, with the ugauga (Birgus latro) being the largest living arthropod on Earth. Each stamp in this collectable issue includes the Tokelauan word for the crab as well as the scientific name.

45c - Ugauga (Birgus latro)

Also known as the coconut crab, this enormous crab is so adjusted to living on land that it can drown when placed in water. The ugauga’s claws are powerful enough to crack open a coconut and if no coconuts are readily available on the ground, it will climb a coconut tree and clip them down.

$1.40 - Tupa (Cardisoma sp.)

The tupa are a species of terrestrial crab that are nocturnal scavengers and tend to live in burrows. Like most crabs, they display dimorphism in their claws, with one claw being much larger than the other.

$2.00 - Kaviki (Ocypode sp.)

Ocypodes are a type of ghost crab, named for their nocturnal nature and pale appearance. Ocypode means ‘swift-footed’, with this species of crab being very active. It’s known to dash from its burrow to the retreating shore to wet its gills, but would be in danger of drowning if fully submerged.

$3.00 - Kamakama (Grapsus sp.)

The kamakama is also known as the ‘red rock crab’ or ‘Sally Lightfoot’, named for its bright red appearance and agility respectively. The kamakama is considered fairly inedible to humans, so is more likely to be used as bait.

A closer look at the crabs of Tokelau

Alongside the set of four stamps in this issue, there are a miniature sheet, a first day cover and a miniature sheet first day cover. The first day cover features an image of the kaviki in its natural habitat, and any of these collectables would make a great addition to any marine fauna or Tokelau stamp collection.
 

Technical information

Date of issue: 3 June 2015
Number of stamps: Set of four gummed stamps
Denominations: 45c, $1.40, $2.00 and $3.00 
Stamps and first day covers designed by:  New Zealand Post Limited, Wellington, New Zealand
Printer: Collectables and Solutions Centre, New Zealand Post, Whanganui, New Zealand.
Number of colours: Four process colours
Stamp size and format: 40mm x 30mm (horizontal)
Paper type: Tullis Russell 104gsm red phosphor gummed stamp paper
Number of stamps per sheet: 16
Perforation gauge: 13.33
Period of sale: Unless stocks are exhausted earlier, these stamps will remain on sale until 2 June 2016.