Feb 1

We’ve asked conservation organisations around the world to nominate a species that they believe to be overlooked, underappreciated and unloved, and tell us why they think that they deserve a fair share of the limelight, this Valentine’s Day.

Each nominee’s story is featured on the Arkive blog with information on the species, what makes them so special, the conservation organisation that nominated them and how they are working to save them from extinction.

Click the ‘unloved species’ tag above to see all of the nominations and their blogs.

Once you have perused the blogs you can vote for your favourite to help get them into the top ten unloved species and get them the recognition that they truly deserve! Share your favourite with others using the #LoveSpecies hashtag on Twitter and Facebook and tell them why they should vote for them too. Voting closes on February 14th at 23:59 PST (07:59 GMT).

Join us and our conservation partners in celebrating and raising awareness for some of the world’s most unloved species this Valentine’s Day!

Species: Coconut crab

Nominated by: Chagos Conservation Trust

Conservation status: Data Deficient

Why do you love it? The coconut crab is the world’s largest terrestrial arthropod, reaching over 1 metre in leg span and 3.5 to 4 kilograms in weight.

As a juvenile it behaves like a hermit crab and uses empty coconut shells as protection but as an adult this giant crab climbs trees and can crack through a coconut with its massive claws.

What are the threats to the coconut crab? It is primarily threatened by over-collection for food, but also as ornaments for sale to tourists and as bait for fish traps. Demand for coconut crabs as souvenirs is strong, and other threats include habitat destruction and predation from introduced species such as rats.

What are you doing to save it? The coconut crabs on Chagos constitute one of the most undisturbed populations in the world, partly due to the fully protection granted to the Chagos archipelago in 2010.

Chagos is an important study site for this species as it is not fully understood or well-studied. It is also a refuge, being a no-take marine reserve, and a vital source for replenishing other the over-exploited populations in the Indian Ocean region. An important part of their biology is the long distances their young can travel as larvae.

CCT is studying these interesting crabs to find out more and understand better their ecology. No one has been able to breed them in captivity successfully so this population is very important.

CCT is also committed to restoring some of the more degraded islands in Chagos to ensure these crabs thrive and help other populations recover.

Find out more about the Chagos Conservation Trust

Discover more crayfish, lobster and crab species on Arkive