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A new, vibrantly colored, toxic xanthid reef crab

By Leonard Ho - Posted Nov 09, 2015 10:00 AM
Actaea grimaldii is the newest species of reef crabs. It is described from Papua New Guinea. It is very striking in coloration, covered in mottled orange to red and white patterns over its spiky carapace.
A new, vibrantly colored, toxic xanthid reef crab

Coloration of live Actaea grimaldii specimens. Credit: Peter K.L. NG & Philippe BOUCHET

The new crab is described in the latest publication of the European Journal of Taxonomy.

A public service announcement about xanthid crabs:  Few reefkeepers know that these crabs are toxic ... in fact, very toxic.  Their toxins are similar to the tetrodotoxin and saxitoxin produced by pufferfish (deadly stuff!), and the toxin has no antidote nor can it be denatured with heat (e.g. cooking).  Xanthid crabs are common hitchhikers into reef aquariums.  We recommend you dispose of them - and any reef life for that matter -  carefully.  Do not boil them (may aerosolize the toxin), and definitely don't eat them!

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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