Christmas Island (flora and fauna)



The robber crab (Birgus latro) is the largest of the various crab species found on Christmas Island. Able to climb trees, the crabs only return to water during breeding season to lay eggs.1 However, the most notorious crab species is the red crab (Gecarcoidea natalis2), which migrates by the millions at the end of the dry season around November to December.3 The dry season spans May to November, while the wet season is between December to April.4

The coconut trees growing freely on Christmas Island were probably brought by natives of the Cocos Islands.5 Other indigenous fauna peculiar to the island include:

White-tailed tropic bird (Phaethon lepturus fulvus): first described in 18406
Christmas Island flying fox (or fruit bat) (Pteropus melanotus natalis): feeds on a variety of fruit and nectar7
Christmas Island shrew (Crocidura trichura): listed as critically endangered8
Rats (Rattus macleari and M. nativitatis): listed as extinct9
Andrews’ frigatebird or Christmas Island frigatebird (Fregata andrewsi)10
Christmas Island white-eye (Zosterops natalis): most abundant bird on the island, with similar species found across the Asia-Pacific region11
Christmas Island thrush (Turdus poliocephalus erythropleurus): endemic species of thrush12
Christmas Island emerald dove (Chalcophaps indica natalis): land bird13



Author

Bonny Tan



References
1. Bentley, J. (1979). The story behind the stamp: Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Christmas Islands (Indian Ocean), Australia Antar[c]tic Territory, Norfolk Island decimal stamps: Complete issues to 1980. Bathurst, New South Wales: Robert Brown and Associates, p. 13. (Call no.: RART 769.569699 BEN)
2. Dennis, S. (2008). Christmas Island: An anthropological study. Amherst, NY: Cambria Press, p. 10. (Call no.: RSEA 306.09948 DEN); Christmas Island Tourism Association. (2017). Red crab migration. Retrieved 2017, April 28 from Christmas Island Tourism Association website: https://www.christmas.net.au/experiences/red-crab-migration.html
3. Dennis, S. (2008). Christmas Island: An anthropological study. Amherst, NY: Cambria Press, p. 11. (Call no.: RSEA 306.09948 DEN)
4. Australian Government Director of National Parks, Christmas Island National Park & Christmas Island Tourism Association. (2014, July 3). Welcome to Christmas Island visitor guide. Retrieved 2017, April 28 from Christmas Island Tourism Association website: https://www.christmas.net.au/visitor-guide/
5. Bentley, J. (1979). The story behind the stamp: Cocos (Keeling) Islands, Christmas Islands (Indian Ocean), Australia Antar[c]tic Territory, Norfolk Island decimal stamps: Complete issues to 1980. Bathurst, New South Wales: Robert Brown and Associates, p. 13. (Call no.: RART 769.569699 BEN)
6. Commonwealth of Australia. (2016). Phaethon lepturus fulvus — Christmas Island White-tailed Tropicbird, Golden Bosunbird. Retrieved 2017, May 3 from Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy website: http://www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/sprat/public/publicspecies.pl?taxon_id=26021
7. Commonwealth of Australia. (n.d.). Native animals. Retrieved 2017, May 3 from Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy website: http://www.environment.gov.au/topics/national-parks/christmas-island-national-park/natural-environment/native-animals; Commonwealth of Australia. (2016). Pteropus natalis – Christmas Island flying-fox, Christmas Island fruit-bat. Retrieved 2017, May 3 from Australian Government, Department of the Environment and Energy website: http://www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/sprat/public/publicspecies.pl?taxon_id=87611
8. Andrews, C. W. (2008). A monograph of Christmas Island (Indian Ocean): Physical features and geology [First published 1900]. Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Pub., pp. 22, 27—28. (Call no.: RSEA 508.948 AND); Commonwealth of Australia. (n.d.). Crocidura trichura – Christmas Island shrew. Retrieved 2017, May 3 from Australian Government, Department of the Environment and Energy website: http://www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/sprat/public/publicspecies.pl?taxon_id=86568
9. Andrews, C. W. (2008). A monograph of Christmas Island (Indian Ocean): Physical features and geology [First published 1900]. Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Pub., pp. 28–37. (Call no.: RSEA 508.948 AND); Commonwealth of Australia. (n.d.). Native animals. Retrieved 2017, May 3 from Australian Government, Department of the Environment and Energy website: http://www.environment.gov.au/topics/national-parks/christmas-island-national-park/natural-environment/native-animals
10. Commonwealth of Australia. (n.d.). Fregata andrewsi – Christmas Island frigatebird, Andrew’s frigatebird. Retrieved 2017, May 3 from Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy website: http://www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/sprat/public/publicspecies.pl?taxon_id=1011
11. Andrews, C. W. (2008). A monograph of Christmas Island (Indian Ocean): Physical features and geology [First published 1900]. Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Pub., p. 49. (Call no.: RSEA 508.948 AND); Island Explorer Holidays. (2008). Christmas & Cocos Keeling Islands birding guide. Retrieved 2017, May 3 from Australian Government Department of the Environment and Energy website: http://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/200ff406-ebb1-43ff-99e4-6340609d6767/files/birdbrochure.pdf; BirdLife International. (2016). Zosterops natalis. Retrieved 2017, June 19 from The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species website: http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2016-3.RLTS.T22714078A94400658.en
12. Commonwealth of Australia. (n.d.). Turdus poliocephalus erythropleurus – Christmas Island thrush. Retrieved 2017, May 3 from Australian Government, Department of the Environment and Energy website: http://www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/sprat/public/publicspecies.pl?taxon_id=67122
13. Commonwealth of Australia. (n.d.). Chalcophaps indica natalis – Christmas Island emerald dove, emerald dove (Christmas Island). Retrieved 2017, May 3 from Australian Government, Department of the Environment and Energy website: http://www.environment.gov.au/cgi-bin/sprat/public/publicspecies.pl?taxon_id=67030; Andrews, C. W. (2008). A monograph of Christmas Island (Indian Ocean): Physical features and geology [First published 1900]. Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Pub., p. 39. (Call no.: RSEA 508.948 AND)



Further resources
Ridley, H. N. (1891, June). A day at Christmas Island. Journal of Straits Branch Royal Asiatic Society, 23, 123—140. Retrieved from JSTOR via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg

Ridley, H. N. (1905, June). The botany of Christmas Island. Journal of Straits Branch Royal Asiatic Society, 45, 156—271. Retrieved from JSTOR via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg

Ridley, H. N. (1907, June). Christmas Island flora – additional notes. Journal of Straits Branch Royal Asiatic Society, 48, 107—108. Retrieved from JSTOR via NLB’s eResources website: http://eresources.nlb.gov.sg



The information in this article is valid as at 2017 and correct as far as we can ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history of the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

Subject
Geography>>Geographical Areas and Countries>>Singapore Offshore Islands
Science and technology>>Agriculture>>Horticulture>>Flowers and ornamental plants
Science and technology>>Biology>>Ecology>>Marine ecology
Singapore offshore islands
Horticulture--Islands--Kiribati
Nature>>Plants
Plants
Wildlife
Kiritimati(Kiribati)
Nature>>Animals