Cirique and Zagaya: Notes on the Local Names for the Crabs Callinectes and Grapsus.

Hans E.A. Boos


The name "Cirique", for a crab, is noted by Taylor (1938) in his work on the Caribs on the island of Dominica. However, the "cirique" is described as a crab "disliking the sea" (p.lll). Taylor quotes the Carib word for crabs from Father Raymond Breton's "Carib Dictionary" (1665) and notes that there are current Creole, patois, names of native origin for these crabs. The Creole word "cirique" and the Carib word "agaya" (pluralized in the French Patois as "zagaya"), were mostly likely brought to Trinidad from the Lesser Antilles in the nineteenth century by Frenchspeaking planters and their slaves following the Cedula of Population in Trinidad. In Trinidad today, "cirique" no longer refers to a land-dwelling crab, but specifically to the species of Callinectes.

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