Spotted Crab: A Guide to Identification and Habitat – Seaco Online
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Spotted Crab: A Guide to Identification and Habitat

Spotted crabs are a fascinating group of crustaceans that have captured the attention of marine biologists and seafood enthusiasts alike.

These crabs are known for their striking appearance, with large, colourful spots adorning their shells and claws. They are found in a variety of marine environments, from shallow reefs to deep ocean trenches.

If you're interested in learning more about spotted crabs, this article is for you.

We'll cover everything from their biology and taxonomy to their behaviour and ecology. Whether you're a seasoned marine biologist or simply curious about these fascinating creatures, you're sure to find something of interest here.

Key Takeaways

  • Spotted crabs are a diverse group of crustaceans found in a variety of marine environments.
  • They are known for their striking appearance, with large, colourful spots adorning their shells and claws.
  • In this article, we'll cover everything from their biology and taxonomy to their behaviour and ecology.

Biology and Taxonomy

A spotted crab scuttles along the sandy ocean floor, its colorful shell blending in with the surrounding coral and seaweed


The Spotted Crab, also known as Carpilius Maculatus, Spotted Reef Crab, Seven-Eleven Crab, or Large Spotted Crab, is a species of Decapod Crustaceans.

It was first described by Linnaeus in 1758 and belongs to the family Carpiliidae.

Physical Characteristics

The Spotted Crab has a carapace that can measure up to 10 cm in width. Its legs are long and slender, with the first pair of legs being modified into claws.

The claws are often covered in spines, and the carapace has several spines as well. The Spotted Crab gets its name from the red spots that cover its carapace.

Habitat and Distribution

The Spotted Crab is found in the intertidal zone of the Indo-West Pacific and Indo-Pacific regions.

It is a cosmopolitan species and can be found in marine waters from Hawaii to India, Australia, Mozambique, Japan, Singapore, the Red Sea, South Africa, Madagascar, the Andaman Islands, Taiwan, China, and throughout the Indian and West Pacific Oceans. It is commonly found in sandy to muddy substrates.

The Spotted Crab is a benthic species and is often found in shallow waters.

It is commonly found in the Persian Gulf, Mauritius, Pakistan, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Malay Peninsula, Thailand, Korea, Indonesia, Philippines, and Java.


The Spotted Crab belongs to the order Decapoda, class Malacostraca, and phylum Arthropoda. Its scientific name is Carpilius Maculatus, and it belongs to the family Carpiliidae. The Spotted Crab is a member of the Brachyura infraorder, which includes all true crabs.

Behaviour and Ecology

The spotted crab scuttles along the rocky shore, blending in with its surroundings. It uses its sharp pincers to forage for food and defend itself against predators

Diet and Feeding Habits

Spotted crabs are carnivores and feed on a variety of prey including worms, small fish, and other invertebrates.

They are known to scavenge on dead animals as well. They use their swimming legs to catch prey and have a strong bite that allows them to crush their food.

Reproductive Behaviour

Spotted crabs are nocturnal creatures and are known to breed during the summer months.

During mating, the male crab will hold onto the female and fertilize her eggs. The eggs are then carried by the female until they hatch into larvae.

Interactions with Humans

Spotted crabs are commercially harvested and are considered an edible crab species.

They are commonly found in intertidal zones and can be easily identified by their red-spotted shell. However, it is important to note that some species of crabs, including the blood-spotted swimming crab, are poisonous and should not be consumed.

Frequently Asked Questions

A spotted crab sits on a sandy ocean floor, surrounded by colorful coral and swaying seaweed. Its shell is adorned with unique patterns, and its legs are poised for movement

Can you eat spotted reef crabs?

Yes, you can eat spotted reef crabs. They are a popular seafood delicacy in many parts of the world. However, it is important to ensure that they are cooked thoroughly before consumption to avoid any risks of food poisoning.

Are there any risks associated with handling spotted crabs?

Yes, handling spotted crabs can be dangerous as they have sharp claws that can cause injury.

It is recommended to wear protective gloves when handling them. Additionally, some species of spotted crabs may be venomous, so it is important to exercise caution when handling them.

What's the difference between a leopard spotted crab and other types?

Leopard spotted crabs, also known as Zebra crabs, have distinct black and white stripes on their shells, which distinguish them from other types of spotted crabs. They are also smaller in size compared to other species of spotted crabs.

How do you prepare a spotted reef crab dish?

Spotted reef crabs can be prepared in a variety of ways, including boiling, grilling, or frying.

Before cooking, it is important to clean the crabs thoroughly by removing the gills, stomach, and other internal organs. Once cleaned, the crabs can be seasoned with a variety of herbs and spices to enhance their flavour.

What should you know about the habitat of three spotted crabs?

Spotted reef crabs are typically found in shallow waters around coral reefs and rocky shores.

They are known to be territorial creatures and can often be found hiding in crevices or under rocks. Some species of spotted crabs are also known to be nocturnal, meaning they are more active at night.

Does the 7-11 crab pose any danger if consumed?

There is no such thing as a 7-11 crab.

It is important to be cautious of misinformation or false claims regarding seafood. Consuming certain species of crabs or other seafood can pose health risks.

Always ensure that you are consuming seafood from a reputable source and that it has been properly cooked.