Featured Creature: Porcelain Anemone Crab

Macro Monday Featured Creature: The Procelain Anemone Crab

The porcelain anemone crab is also referred to as the spotted porcelain crab. Although they are called crabs and certainly resemble crabs, they are actually closer related to squat lobsters. They are called porcelain crabs both because they are very delicate and due to their base color of almost pure white. This creature is fairly common and is found in the Indo-Pacific Region. The easiest place for sightings likely being on the many beautiful dive sites off of the coast of Tanzania and Zanzibar.

As mentioned, the Porcelain Anemone Crab are very delicate and brittle. The legs and claws of this crab often break off in fights over territory. They usually regenerate these broken appendages when they change shells. They are often found in pairs and are almost exclusively found next to either a carpet anemone or an adhesive anemone. Their white shells become even more beautiful as their shells age and they begin growing algae. This can give individual crabs who haven’t molted their shells for a long period a much more vibrant look.

The Porcelain Anemone Crab are filter feeders and have tiny fans by their mouths which filter plankton out of the water. These crabs only grow to a maximum width of around 5 cms or 2 inches.

The Procelain Anemone Crab is actually a fairly stable aquarium creature. They are fairly cheap (around $10) and can exist without an anemone in an aquarium environment (although having one is certainly preferred). While they are in the wild they are planktonic feeders, in aquariums they seem to be able to survive off of flakes or pellets which sink to the bottom.

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