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Phylum Arthropoda > Subphylum Crustacea > Class Malacostraca > Order Decapoda > Brachyurans > Family Xanthidae
Mosaic reef crab
Lophozozymus pictor

Family Xanthidae
updated Dec 12
Where seen? This striking red crab is sometimes seen on our some of our shores among coral rubble or near living reefs. At some times, several can be seen on one trip, and then none for several months. 'Pictor' in Latin means 'painter'.

Features: Body width 8-10cm. Body somewhat fan-shaped. It is usually red to orange with strikingly mosaic-like patterns of large white spots.
Pincers short, both about equal in size, with black tips. Walking legs hairy with pointed tips.

It is the most poisonous crab of Singapore! There are several documented deaths caused by eating this crab. Cooking does not destroy the toxins. The crab is believed to obtain the toxins from the food it eats, including a poisonous sea cucumber.

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

Sentosa, Oct 04

Eating a clam. Pulau Hantu, Jul 10
Photo shared by Toh Chay Hoon on her blog.

Pulau Semakau, Nov 09

Eating a Long-spined black sea urchin.
Sisters Island, May 09
Photo shared by Janette Goh on her blog.

Eating a Common sea star.
Pulau Hantu, May 09
Photo shared by Janette Goh on her blog.

Sentosa, Jun 07

Mosaic reef crabs on Singapore shores

Photos for free download from wildsingapore flickr
Distribution in Singapore on this wildsingapore flickr map

more photos of mosaic reef crabs on Singapore shores

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Gopalakrishnakone P., 1990. A Colour Guide to Dangerous Animals. Venom & Toxin Research Group, Faculty of Medicine, National University of Singapore. 156 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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