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Phylum Arthropoda > Subphylum Crustacea > Class Malacostraca > Order Decapoda > Brachyurans
Ferocious reef crab
Eriphia ferox
Family Eriphiidae
updated Oct 2016

Where seen? This energetic crab with bright red eyes is often seen on our Southern shores clambering among boulders at night. Also on coral rubble and under stones. Sometimes also seen on undisturbed rocky shores of our Northern shores. It is rarely seen out and about during daylight. 'Ferox' in Latin means 'ferocious' or wild and untamed.

Features: 5-7cm. Body oval, with several (about 6) tiny teeth at the edges near the eyes. Upper surface covered with pimples. Reddish to purplish brown. Large pincers covered with pimples with reddish brown tips. One of its pincers is enlarged and armed with a molar-like 'tooth' to crush snail shells. The other pincer has slim 'fingers' that act like chopsticks to remove the snail after its shell is crushed. Walking legs sparsely hairy. Eyes bright red. It is fast moving and can be aggressive if it is cornered.

According to Ng, Peter K. L. et. al, 2008. Systema Brachyurorum: Part 1. An annotated checklist of extant Brachyuran crabs of the world. "Eriphia smithii is supposedly a widely distributed Indo-West Pacific species. The actual E. smithii is restricted to the Indian Ocean. Most specimens in Southeast and East Asia as well as Australia belong to an undescribed species".

According to the Singapore Red Data Book, this crab had been known for a long time as Eriphia smithii which is restricted to the western part of the Indian Ocean. The one in Southeast and East Asia is a new species and was recently named Eriphia ferox for its fierce temperament.

Sometimes confused with
similar crabs in the same habitat. Here's more on how to tell apart big crabs with big pincers seen on the rocky shores and coral rubble.

Status and threats: This crab is listed as 'Vulnerable' on the Red List of threatened animals of Singapore.

Sentosa, Jul 08


Sentosa, Jul 04


Pulau Jong, Jul 06

One of the pincers enlarged with
'molar' to crush snail shells.

The other pincer has slim 'fingers'
to pick out the soft snail.

Ferocious reef crabs on Singapore shores

Photos of Ferocious reef crabs for free download from wildsingapore flickr

Distribution in Singapore on this wildsingapore flickr map


Tanah Merah, Jun 10
Photo shared by James Koh on his blog.

East Coast Park, Jul 14
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on flickr.


Berlayar Creek, Oct 17
Photo shared by Chris Wong on facebook.

Pulau Tekukor, Jan 10
Photo shared by James Koh on his flickr.


Terumbu Bukom, Nov 10
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

Terumbu Buran, Nov 10

Terumbu Selegie, Jun 11
Photo shared byJames Koh on his blog.


Terumbu Pempang Tengah, Sep 14
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his blog.

Terumbu Semakau, Dec 15
Photo shared by Toh Chay Hoon on facebook.

Labrador, May 11
Photo shared by Marcus Ng on flickr.


Terumbu Salu, Jan 10

Pulau Salu, Aug 10

Pulau Salu, Aug 10


Terumbu Salu, Jan 10

Pulau Biola, Dec 09
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his flickr.

Terumbu Berkas, Jan 10

Family Eriphiidae recorded for Singapore
in red are those listed among the threatened animals of Singapore from Davison, G.W. H. and P. K. L. Ng and Ho Hua Chew, 2008. The Singapore Red Data Book: Threatened plants and animals of Singapore.  

  Family Eriphiidae (previously Menippidae)
  Eriphia ferox (Red-eyed reef crab) (VU: Vulnerable)

Links

References

  • S. K. Koh and Peter K. L. Ng, 31 Aug 2008. A revision of the shore crabs of the genus Eriphia (Crustacea: Brachyura: Eriphiidae). The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 2008 56 (2): 327-355.
  • Ng, Peter K. L. and Daniele Guinot and Peter J. F. Davie, 2008. Systema Brachyurorum: Part 1. An annotated checklist of extant Brachyuran crabs of the world. The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology. Supplement No. 17, 31 Jan 2008. 286 pp.
  • Tan, Hugh T.W. L.M. Chou, Darren C. J. Yeo and Peter K.L. Ng. 2007. The Natural Heritage of Singapore. Second edition. Prentice Hall. 271 pp.
  • Davison, G.W. H. and P. K. L. Ng and Ho Hua Chew, 2008. The Singapore Red Data Book: Threatened plants and animals of Singapore. Nature Society (Singapore). 285 pp.
  • Lim, S., P. Ng, L. Tan, & W. Y. Chin, 1994. Rhythm of the Sea: The Life and Times of Labrador Beach. Division of Biology, School of Science, Nanyang Technological University & Department of Zoology, the National University of Singapore. 160 pp.
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