Use of the Mangrove Red Crab (Ucides occidentalis) in the Gulf of Guayaquil

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  • Title: Use of the Mangrove Red Crab (Ucides occidentalis) in the Gulf of Guayaquil
  • Author(s): Efrén Silva , Javier Segovia
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: Food Studies
  • Journal Title: Food Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal
  • Keywords: Mangrove, Red Crab, Ucides occidentalis, Cultural Identity
  • Volume: 8
  • Issue: 4
  • Year: 2018
  • ISSN: 2160-1933 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2160-1941 (Online)
  • DOI:
  • Citation: Silva, Efrén, and Javier Segovia. 2018. "Use of the Mangrove Red Crab (Ucides occidentalis) in the Gulf of Guayaquil." Food Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal 8 (4): 53-69. doi:10.18848/2160-1933/CGP/v08i04/53-69.
  • Extent: 17 pages


Red crab (Ucides occidentalis) has been present in mangrove ecosystems of the Ecuadorian coast for thousands of years, becoming an important part of the diet of the inhabitants of this region. The mangroves in the coastal area are the livelihood of thousands of peasants who are engaged in the harvesting and sale of the crustacean, as this activity generates millions of dollars annually. This article aims to determine the relationship between this natural resource and the population who live around the Gulf of Guayaquil. The research techniques used in this study were literature review and participant observation, which established that the capture and consumption of this crustacean has economic and socio-cultural connotations for the inhabitants of this territory. Historical data shows that these activities form part of their shared identity, passed from generation to generation up to the present. The consumption of crab has evolved along with the society of the gulf region and nowadays, it is common for family and friends to gather to prepare and eat red crabs, a gastronomic event known as a “cangrejada.” Thus, through these traditions, the red crab can be viewed as one of the main aspects of the Ecuadorian gastronomic identity.