Phylum Arthropoda, Subphylum Crustacea, Class Malacostraca. Order Decapoda, Family Porcellanidae

Neopetrolisthes maculosus


DISTRIBUTION: tropical seas confined to the western Pacific and Indo Australian. 

HABITAT: Often be found hiding in amongst its host anemone.  When disturbed they will hide under the anemone away from predators.  Pairs of the species can be often seen living in the same anemone and quite often they will try to defend their territory from anemonefish although the anemonefish generally prevails due to its large size.

APPEARANCE: Color may be varied. N. maculosus body cream white with ground red peas.  The body is round, claws large and flat, sharp.  Males will generally grow larger than the females and the crab is generally less than 5cm (2 in) in width, 2.5cm length (1 in).

DIET: They feed by combing plankton and other organic particles from the water using long setae (feathery hair or bristle-like structures) on the mouthparts. These animals will also scavenge on the sea floor for detritus.

REMARKS: They share the general body plan of a squat lobster, but their bodies are more compact and flattened, an adaptation for living and hiding under rocks. Porcelain crabs are quite fragile animals, and will often shed their limbs to escape predators, hence their name. The lost appendage can grow back over several moults. Porcelain crabs have large chelae (claws), which are used for territorial struggles, but not for catching food. The fifth pair of pereiopods are reduced and are used for cleaning.

Reef Partners Cluster PR33 Small Giant Clams Exhibit