Image of a Sea Anemone with permission from Petr VodickaImage of cluster of Sea Anemonies, with permission from Brocken Inglory

Habitat and Geography


Image of the Eastern Hemisphere showing where the Spotted Porcelain Crab can be found        The Spotted Porcelain Crab has a very unique habitat in more ways than one. These crabs are commonly found within all the world’s oceans, except for the Arctic and Antarctic. They are most widely distributed in the Indo-West Pacific. From the East coast of Africa to Christmas Island and Western Australia, Bismarck Archipelago, Queensland, Moluccas, Palau, Taiwan, Ryukyus, Marshall and Fiji Islands (Milne Edwards, 1837). 


          The Spotted Porcelain Crab lives within a specific zone of the ocean, commonly referred to as the littoral zone, or intertidal zone. Within the intertidal zone of the ocean, there are high and low tides throughout the day. With living in the vast ocean, not only do organisms have to watch for predators, but also other threatening factors such as exposure to rough conditions. Organisms that live within the high tide zone, often face dangers such as exposure to the atmosphere where heat and bright sunlight can harm an organism (Gardiner, 2010). Diagram of the intertidal zone, from Wikimedia Commons with permission from Photoguy2081On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, organisms that live within the low tidal zones are faced with strong, pounding undercurrents (Gardiner, 2010). Surprisingly, the intertidal zone is home to multiple organisms such as the Pacific cleaner shrimp, stonefish, and even other sea anemones, like the ritteri anemone. Other common organisms include the rock louse, buckshot barnacle, mussels, and sea stars. Even though this environment is home to a wide range of organisms, they all have one thing in common; they have to be able to survive extreme conditions (Gardiner, 2010). The intertidal zone varies in depth, depending on the body of water, but within the intertidal zone the Spotted Porcelain Crab can survive in conditions from the high tide zone, through the low tide zone. In other words, it can survive anywhere from the very surface of the ocean to 67 feet below the surface (Shedd Aquarium, 2001).  Image of different layers of organisms shown on a rocky surface of the Intertidal zone, from Wikimedia, with permission from Photoguy2081The intertidal zone also contains large rocks that tend to pile up and are the result of rocky coastlines, which is a common places for organisms to seek shelter. Large boulders often leave crevices and tidal pools for organisms to seek shelter in (Gardiner, 2010). Those crack and tidal pools are the ideal living conditions for the Spotted Porcelain Crab and other organisms as well.


Currently, the reoccurring topic discussed in the eyes of politicians is how to maintain a healthy ecosystem. For the past few decades, human development and advances have caused their natural habitat to disappearing before our eyes. Image from space of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, from Wikimedia Commons used with permission from NASA/GSFC, MODIS Rapid ResponseTheir natural rocky shores are being overrun with pollution. Pollution is a general term to describe the destruction of an environment. The main pollution factor that impact the ocean are oil spills and agricultural runoff (Monterey Bay Aquarium, 2014).  Those main factors as well as many others, are threatening the habitat of the Spotted Porcelain Crab, as well as many other organisms. Another contributor to their ever decreasing numbers is the lack of human knowledge. The Spotted Porcelain Crab is not much larger than a single Christmas tree light  bulb, and trampling through a tidal pool or disturbing a sea anemone could cause devastation to their habitat. The Spotted Porcelain Crab is not on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) “Red List”, but their habitat is still being destroyed (British Broadcasting Corporation, 2010). It is only a matter of time before the species name appears on the list.  One of the first strides in maintaining and improving the Spotted Porcelain Crab’s habitat is making our population more aware of these unique organisms. Once our general public is informed, people will have more respect for these creatures and hopefully get motivated to better educate themselves of other possible endangered species.


Next, learn about the unique adaptations of the Spotted Porcelain Crab by clicking

If you would rather return to the home page ,click here.