Porcelain Crab

Family: 

Porcellanidae

Porcelain crabs are classified under the Porcellanidae family, occupying various habitats globally in shallow intertidal to deep-water zones (1). They are filter feeders that may consume organic matter found in the water column or can utilize their claws for scraping food off the substrate depending on the specific habitat (1). Crevices of large stone substratum and mussel beds are common settlement spots for various intertidal species (1). During their larval stage, they utilize long spines for protection from predators or can escape in space through their morphologically buoyant state (1). These crabs are often hosts to the rhizocephalan barnacle parasite and the male crabs are feminized as a result of parasitic castration (2). The externa (abdomen) of the male crab widens and anatomically yields a larger cavity within the haemocoel for the parasite to carry its own eggs, providing space for the hatched larva to be released and find a new host to parasitize (2).

 

(1) Denny, M. W., & Gaines, S. D. (Eds.). (2007). Encyclopedia of tidepools and rocky shores (No. 1). Univ of California Press.

(2) Brockerhoff, A. M. (2004). Occurrence of the internal parasite Portunion sp.(Isopoda: Entoniscidae) and its effect on reproduction in intertidal crabs (Decapoda: Grapsidae) from New Zealand. Journal of Parasitology, 90(6), 1338-1345.