Porcelain Crab

Scientific name: Porcellana platycheles
Look out for this tiny crab under rocks and boulders on rocky shores - you'll have to look closely though, they're pretty well camouflaged!

Species information

Statistics

Length: 15mm

Conservation status

Common

When to see

January to December

About

The Porcelain Crab, also known as the Broad-clawed Porcelain Crab, is a small crab covered in tiny hairs. They have large, flattened hairy claws and are brown in colour. They live under rocks and boulders on rocky shores - though they can be hard to spot as their brown hairy bodies are well camouflaged. They are filter feeders, combing plankton from the water using special hairs on their mouthparts.

How to identify

A tiny, hairy crab with broad, flattened front claws. Greenish-brown on the back and off-white underneath. They have two long antennae.

Distribution

Found around all UK coasts.

Did you know?

Porcelain Crabs are fragile animals and will shed a leg if attacked, in the same way that a lizard sheds its tail. It's this fragility that gives them their name!

How people can help

When rockpooling, be careful to leave everything as you found it - replace any rocks you turn over, put back any crabs or fish and ensure not to scrape anything off its rocky home. If you want to learn more about our rockpool life, Wildlife Trusts around the UK run rockpool safaris and offer Shoresearch training - teaching you to survey your local rocky shore. The data collected is then used to protect our coasts and seas through better management or through the designation of Marine Protected Areas. The Wildlife Trusts are working with sea users, scientists, politicians and local people towards a vision of 'Living Seas', where marine wildlife thrives. Do your bit for our Living Seas by supporting your local Wildlife Trust or checking out our Action Pages.