The Porcelain Crab gets its name from the fact that it will commonly shed limbs in order to escape predators. This should not, however, be confused with fragility as the limb will regrow. It is commonly available in many different colour morphs including blue, orange/red and tan. It has a similar body shape to a squat lobster but is generally flatter. It has a flat, round body with two large claws. Their front arms are called maxilliped and have feather-like ends. They use these appendages to filter the water for passing food.
The Porcelain Crab is commonly found throughout the world’s warm oceans with different colour morphs being endemic to different regions. They are most likely to be found living on rocky coral reefs. As they lack any significant defences against predators they are often found under rocks or in small caves where they can filter the water for food in relative safety. In the wild they will also host anemones, which offer the crab some protection. They do not, however, require an anemone in a home tank. In a home aquarium they also appreciate ample rockwork with caves and ledges. While shy initially as they become comfortable they can often be seen out and about in the tank.
The Porcelain Crab, with its unique feeding methods and reef safe and peaceful demeanor makes an interesting addition to an aquarium. Watching them fan out their feather-like front arms to gather food particles from the water is mesmerizing and this makes them one of the most interesting invertebrates in the hobby. In a home aquarium they will often host an anemone or other corals and are full of personality. They are also effective members of a tank’s cleanup crew and will scavenge for meaty foods in the tank. If necessary, they can be fed chopped squid or spot fed foods designed for filter feeders.