| Common hairy
learn only 3 things about them ...
'Hair' covers almost every part of the body!
The hairs trap sediments, adding to their camouflage.
So please watch out when you step among the rocks.
are mildy poisonous!
seen? Hairy crabs are commonly seen on rocky and coral
rubble areas on many of our shores. The "teddy-bear" of
crabs, these hairy little creatures fluff up in the water and look
positively cuddlesome. But they are hard to spot and usually well
hidden, especially during the day. They are more active at night,
but even then, they usually scuttle into the nearest crack or crevice
at the first sign of danger.
These little crabs are not the same as the large 'Hairy crabs' that
are served in our restaurants as seafood.
Features: Body width 3-5cm. As
its name suggests, the hairy crab is indeed quite hairy. Its body
and limbs are covered with long, silky hairs. These trap sediments
allowing the crab to blend perfectly with its surroundings. In the
water, its hairs 'fluff up' breaking up its body outline. It also
moves slowly and thus overlooked as some bit of drifting rubbish.
It has large claws, with black or brown tips. It has reddish eyes.
The Common hairy crab (Pilumnus vespertilio) is the most commonly
encountered hairy crab on our shores and reefs. It has long, soft
hairs and has been described as having the appearance of a mop. The
various species of hairy crabs are very difficult to distinguish in
What do they eat? The Common hairy
crab eats mainly seaweed. It may also eat toxic zoanthids
(colonial anemones) and this makes the crab mildly poisonous. Various
hairy crabs on our shores have been observed nibbling on hard seaweeds,
sponges and even appearing to snack on bristleworms and possibly having
a taste of a nudibranch.
Status and threats: Several of
our hairy crabs are listed among the threatened animals of Singapore.
Like other creatures of the intertidal zone, they are affected by
human activities such as reclamation and pollution. Trampling by careless
visitors also have an impact on local populations.
Labrador, Jun 08
Sentosa, Aug 04
Eating a bristleworm!
Pulau Semakau, Mar 08
Eating a bristleworm.
Shared by Toh Chay Hoon on her
Cyrene Reef, Oct 08
About to nibble on nudibranch?
Pulau Hantu, Jul 08
Nibbling on hard seaweed.
Labrador, Feb 06
crabs on Singapore shores
A pair mating?
Cyrene Reef, Jun 08
Photo shared by Toh Chay Hoon on flickr.
Pulau Semakau East, Jan 16
Photo shared by Jonathan Tan on facebook.
Beting Bemban Besar, May 11
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his
Terumbu Raya, Mar 09
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on flickr.
Terumbu Bemban, Jun 15
Photo shared by Marcus Ng on flickr.
Terumbu Berkas, Jan 10
Pulau Biola, Dec 09
Terumbu Salu, Jan 10
Photo shared by Loh Kok Sheng on his
Pulau Pawai, Dec 09
Pulau Sudong, Dec 09
species recorded for Singapore
Wee Y.C. and Peter K. L. Ng. 1994. A First Look at Biodiversity
in red are those listed among the threatened
animals of Singapore 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.
+from our observation
Pilumnus barbatus=**Nanopilumnus barbatus
Pilumnus edamensis=**Glabropilumnus edamensis
Pilumnus labyrinthicus=**Vellumnus labyrinthicus
Pilumnus laevimanus=**Glabropilumnus laevimanus
Pilumnus laevis=**Glabropilumnus laevis
Pilumnus murphyi (VU:
Pilumnus ohshimai (EN:
Pilumnus penicillatus=**Vellumnus penicillatus
Pilumnus vespertilio (Common hairy crab)
- 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.
- Chou, L.
M., 1998. A Guide to the Coral Reef Life of Singapore.
Singapore Science Centre. 128 pages.
- 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.
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.
- Wee Y.C.
and Peter K. L. Ng. 1994. A First Look at Biodiversity in Singapore.
National Council on the Environment. 163pp.
- Jones Diana
S. and Gary J. Morgan, 2002. A Field Guide to Crustaceans of
Australian Waters. Reed New Holland. 224 pp.