Species Index

Neopetrolisthes maculatus
(H. Milne Edwards, 1837)

Common Name: Porcelain Crab

Distribution: Common in the Solitary Islands Marine Park wherever giant anemones are found. Distributed throughout the Indo-West Pacific region. In Australia recorded from northern Western Australia, the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland and northern New South Wales.

Ecological Notes: Lives on the disc of giant anemones, commonly Heteractis crispa in the Solitary Islands Marine Park. Specimen pictured at a depth of 12 m.

Additional Notes: Flattened chelipeds, the body is white with reddish-brown spots and flecks. Compare with similar N. spinatus which has small, closely set, reddish-brown spots forming blotches. Large white mouthparts extend far in front of the head, these mouthparts have long setae (bristles) which they use like a broom to sweep small organisms out of the water column (see photograph). Colouration may vary, some specimens being very pale. Usually found in pairs, they defend their territory vigorously against intruders. Specimen pictured carapace size around 30 mm in width.

References: Coral Reef Animals of the Indo-Pacific, Terrence M. Gosliner, David W. Behrens and Gary C. Williams, Sea Challengers Publication, Monterey, California. 1996. p.227.

Atlas of Living Australia website at Accessed 14/11/2018.