The Porcelain Anemone Crab, Neopetrolisthes maculatus is also known as the Spotted porcelain crab. They are decapod crustaceans in the Porcellanidae family. Although they resemble true crabs they are actually more closely related to squat lobsters. There seem to be two theories as to why they are called porcelain crabs. The first is that they are called porcelain crabs because they are extremely delicate and body parts such as legs and claws break off easily.These usually regenerate when they change shells.
The second is that the white edges of the crab resemble porcelain. They are much prettier just after a shell change as algae grows on their shells, as can be seen in the image above. Their proportionally large claws are used for protection and territorial fights with other crabs rather than for catching prey. This porcelain anemone crab is usually found within the stinging tentacles of a number of sea anemone species.
Small-dot anemone crab's Behavior & Ecology
The Porcelain Anemone Crabs are found on coral and rock reefs across the Indo Pacific area. Generally they are only seen on anemones. Sometimes one sees porcelain crabs in the branches of coral but usually on close examination these are a different species.
Small-dot anemone crab's Feeding
Porcelain Anemone Crab are filter feeders and filter plankton out the water. They are also said to eat mucus given off by the anemone and clean up any debris from within the tentacles.
Small-dot anemone crab's Reproduction
As with most crustaceans, the eggs are fertilised by the male and are carried under the body of the female. Once they hatch the larvae go through a planktonic stage before settling down and growing into their adult form.