Porcelain Crab Facts: 13 Facts You Won’t Believe

Interesting porcelain crab facts.

A crab is as delicate as porcelain!

Porcelain crabs, scientifically known as Neopetrolisthes maculatus, belong to the genus Neopetrolisthes. These crabs are recognized for their spotted pattern. They are endemic to the Indo Pacific and are resident to rocky beaches and shores.

The crab porcelain is a small crab of the Porcellanidae family. With a maximum length of three inches across the leg span. The carapace length is one inch on average. Their compressed body acts as an advantage for staying stable against turbulent waters.

The spotted porcelain crab is a spotted crab with two distinct patterns: In one pattern, their claws, legs, and carapace are white, with an uneven form of irregular red blotches. On the other, the body parts have many uniform small, reddish-purple spots. They have flat and substantial front claws, which are scary to look at, but the animal uses them only for territorial disputes against the same species. Their antennas are transparent and long.

If the above content has engaged and interested you, we have some great facts about the Sally Lightfoot crab and Dungeness crab for you to enjoy.

Porcelain Crab

Fact File

What do they prey on?

Plankton, mucus from the anemone, plants, shrimps, fish

What do they eat?


Average litter size?

1600 eggs

How much do they weigh?


How long are they?

1 in (2.5 cm)

How tall are they?


What do they look like?

White and red

Skin Type


What are their main threats?

Sharks, parrotfish, snails, and cuttlefish

What is their conservation status?

Not Evaluated

Where you'll find them

Oceans, wetlands, coral reefs


Indo-Pacific area, east coast of Africa, Fiji, Western Australia





Scientific Name

Neopetrolisthes maculatus





Porcelain Crab Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a porcelain crab?

The porcelain crab of the genus Neopetrolisthes is a crab. It is decopad crustacean of the Porcellanidae family.

What class of animal does a porcelain crab belong to?

The Neopetrolisthes maculatus is an arthropod, and it belongs to the class Malacostraca.

How many porcelain crabs are there in the world?

The exact number of porcelain crabs is not evaluated, as most of them hide in sea anemones.

Where does a porcelain crab live?

The porcelain anemone crab inhabits the oceans, seas. They are endemic to the Indo-Pacific. They are primarily native to coral reefs and rocky habitats with tropical and temperate shores.

What is a porcelain crab's habitat?

Anemone crabs are prevalent under rocks and are regularly seen on rocky beaches and shores. When an invader finds it beneath a rock, the anemone crab will run away, shocked.

Porcelain crabs inhabit the coral and rock reefs of oceans and coastal waters. However, they are residents of sea anemones. They hide as a pair under the folds of anemone tentacles.

Who does porcelain crab live with?

Porcelain crabs live as pairs on sea anemones, displaying territorial behavior with their species.

How long does a porcelain crab live?

The crab porcelain can live from three to five years under favorable conditions in rocks and coral reefs of water bodies and aquariums.

How do they reproduce?

Generally, these animals are found as heterosexual pairs. They retain internal implantation, where the male passes sperm to the female as tiny packets caked spermatophore. The female imports eggs in the brood flap over the abdomen. The female can contain 1600 eggs at a time. The eggs are reddish-brown and feed on plankton. After transforming into larvae, the eggs remain in a planktonic state for many weeks before they conclude. The larva goes through one megalopa stage and two zoeal stages.

What is their conservation status?

The conservation status of this porcelain anemone crab is not listed in the red list of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.

Porcelain Crab Fun Facts

What do porcelain crabs look like?

Anemone Neopetrolisthes, a crab that hides on anemone to survive.

The porcelain crabs look like true crabs, but they are true hermits.

Porcelain crabs are delicate as their body parts, such as legs and claws, disassemble easily.

They have finely laced fans embedded in the mouth, with the help of which they filter food from the water.

They have large claws that are used for protection and territorial fights.

They have three legs, unusual compared to the other crabs having four. Despite having solid claws, porcelain crabs do not use them for capturing food. Instead, their mouthparts have long bristles, which they use to wipe off tiny organisms like crustaceans, and planktonic algae from the water.

How cute are they?

Spotted porcelain crabs have a unique reference to porcelain with its white surface, hence their name, and they also have delicate claws and legs. It is a fragile crab. The hiding nature and commensal relationship of porcelain crabs are pretty captivating.

How do they communicate?

Porcelain crabs are silent and peaceful. They do not possess significant communication traits as they are mostly hiding and do not harm other species of sea animals. However, they have a commensal relationship with sea anemones. And they are territorial with their species and use their large claws to jab away other crabs.

How big is a porcelain crab?

The porcelain crab is relatively tiny. Its length is a maximum of one inch, which is almost three times smaller than that of a Square lobster.

How fast can a porcelain crab move?

The crab porcelain does not use all four pairs of legs for navigation. Instead, it walks only on three, as the fourth pair is beneath the carapace. Hence it does not move fast.

How much does a porcelain crab weigh?

Porcelain anemone crabs have compressed exoskeleton bodies, they reach a maximum length of one inch, and their weight is negligible.

What are their male and female names of the species?

The male and female porcelain crab are called male porcelain crab and female porcelain crab.

What would you call a baby porcelain crab?

The baby porcelain crab is called young or juvenile. The larvae resemble plankton.

What do they eat?

They feed mainly on plankton algae. They separate their food from water with their fan-like mouthparts. They also have the mucus from anemone as food. Porcelain crabs take support of their claws for feeding and hunting for food. Their diet also includes zooplankton, brine shrimp, bloodworms, marine snowflakes, spirulina, sponges, and everything that comes their way, which they filter through the help of their fans.

Are they poisonous?

Porcelain crabs are not toxic.

Would they make a good pet?

They are peaceful animals and do not harm any other fish or invertebrates, and are reef safe. Hence these Porcellanidae species are pretty eligible in terms of being a good pet in an aquarium.

Did you know...

Porcelain crabs are active throughout the day, projecting the fans of their mouthparts outwards to filter food in the encompassing water column. They eat almost everything in their habitat.

Anemone crabs cannot withstand their species on the same anchor.

These crabs tend to discard their arms or limbs as an act of damage control from a wound and to avoid predation.

Are porcelain crabs reef safe?

Porcelain anemone crabs are reef safe. They are peaceful invertebrates. They live together in pairs on habitats with lots of rocks, hiding beneath them and also foraging food. They do not harm other fish or invertebrates.

Does a porcelain crab need an anemone?

Porcelain crabs spend most of their time on the adhesive and carpet anemones. Therefore, these crabs are in a commensal relationship with the anemones. Therefore, these crabs get protection, and anemones are also not disrupted by these crabs.

Neopetrolisthes maculatus of western Australia, which live in the tropical reefs, is constantly staying on or around giant sea anemones. The stinging tentacles of these anemones guard them against predators.

These crabs feed on the mucus disposed of by the anemones and clean up the debris in their tentacles.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other Crustaceans including these blue king crab facts and hermit crab facts.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our porcelain crab coloring pages.



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