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A new species of tiger-striped porcelain crab

By Leonard Ho - Posted Sep 22, 2016 09:00 AM
Petrolisthes paulayi is a new species of filter-feeding reef crab from the Central Pacific. With it's orange and red spots and stripes throughout its white carapace, it is also one of the most striking porcelain crabs.
A new species of tiger-striped porcelain crab

Petrolisthes paulayi

The new crab is currently only known from the Line and Society Islands in the Central Pacific.  It lives among dead Pocillipora skeletons (AKA live rock) and Halimeda macroalgae where it spends its days filter-feeding plankton and detritus with its specialized, feathery forearms (maxillipeds).

Porcelain crabs are common reef citizens and are reef-safe.  Their large, intimidating pinchers are used primarily for defense; the bulk of its diet is from filter-feeding supplemented by occasional scavenging.  These peaceful crabs remain small in size, rarely exceeding 2 inches in length.

While some fish have been collected from the Central Pacific (e.g. Pseudanthias aurulentus). it's unlikely invertebrates, especially tiny crabs, will make their way into the aquarium trade any time soon.

Petrolisthes paulayi is described in ZooKeys.

Author: Leonard Ho
Location: Southern California

I'm a passionate aquarist of over 30 years, a coral reef lover, and the blog editor for Advanced Aquarist. While aquarium gadgets interest me, it's really livestock (especially fish), artistry of aquariums, and "method behind the madness" processes that captivate my attention.


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