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Phylum Arthropoda > Subphylum Crustacea > Class Malacostraca > Order Decapoda > Brachyurans > Family Xanthidae
Rock crab
Leptodius sp.*

Family Xanthidae
updated Dec 2019
Where seen? This large crab with typical spoon-tipped pincers is sometimes seen in rocky or rubbly areas on our Southern shores.

Features: Body width 8-10cm. Body oval, rather flat, with 4-5 blunt teeth on the edges of the shell. Colours and patterns in a wide variety; basically brown or grey, sometimes with dark patches or mottled. Pincers not very long, somewhat squat with bumps on the 'elbows' and black spoon-shaped tips. These are probably used to scrape off algae. The walking legs are fringed with long hairs and end in pointed tips.

Sometimes confused with Smooth spooner crab (Etisus laevimanus) which have pincers that are longer, more slender and smooth (without bumps).

Pincers with bumpy elbows.
St. John's Island, Sep 09

Sentosa, Sep 04

Rock crabs on Singapore shores
On wildsingapore flickr

Other sightings on Singapore shores

Pulau Sekudu, Jul 20
Photo shared by Marcus Ng on facebook.

Small Sisters Island, Aug 21
Photo shared by Vincent Choo on facebook.

Pulau Tekukor, May 10
Photo shared by James Koh on his blog.

Pulau Senang, Jun 10
Photo shared by Marcus Ng on flickr.

With grateful thanks to Ondrej Radosta for identifying the species of the crabs on this page.


  • 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.
  • Jones Diana S. and Gary J. Morgan, 2002. A Field Guide to Crustaceans of Australian Waters. Reed New Holland. 224 pp.
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