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Gaudy Clown Crab - Tamatoa


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That was a sponge crab I had that I checked to see that it was a she. (Found the old post) Double check your crab or try to take an abdomen picture if you can. The marking makes it look male in the photo you have here...Going to get some more this week. I guess I can just try to pair them here but it is all commercial setup...so impersonal, no romance.

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Well I found a female. I didn’t know it at the time, but she is egg bearing. 😞 I have to try to do something with the eggs now, I feel guilty. In my defense, the eggs are orange and so is she and it was hard to see it at the time although when she hangs out on her back it is clear as day. Just excited and not thinking really. Her egg sack is about as big as she is. Will snap some photos later, I feel bad about it. I don’t have a breeding setup for her and I don’t know how much time I have.  I am near some of the top breeders in the country. Maybe I can interest them...well we can learn more about their breeding cycle I guess. I know in other crabs they have their last molt when they become egg bearing. Returning her to the ocean isn’t allowed, she went straight into a tank system that is almost all imported species. 

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Aww well there are probably plenty more out there making babies...


Crab fry seems difficult to rear although I have seen captive bred hermit's and such.


I wonder how these guys mix with each other. Like could a person have a handful of them in one tank?

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I think most crabs aren’t bred because the commercially important ones are so common, easier to just collect them. You would either have to feed them land based foods or species that are more uncommon than they are in the ocean it would be backwards. I saw a lady who has a thread on breeding land hermits. May try to copy. Going to see if Harbor Branch or the Smithsonian will be interested. In any event we will at least learn something about their life cycle. She is larger than Tamatoa, about 10%-15% larger.



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At least she has a reason to hang out on her back all day. 


Saw two more egg bearing females. (I have officially jinxed myself. I brought up pairing the other day - just curious as to how they would behave together, and how luck works out for me is that from now on I will find pregnant crabs everywhere I go.) Maybe it is the time of year for them. Maybe it is a recurring thing. 


There is usually a breeding event around the winter solstice. The ocean has a few days where everything is out and very active. For whatever reason many species breed at this time, inverts at least. It is usually the first new moon after the winter solstice. Maybe they release their eggs along the same timeline? 


Edit - That would be Dec 26th. She doesn’t look like she can wait that long. 

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That's too bad. Maybe you can get them to mate again when you have more time and resources available to try to catch and raise them? Though you'd have to figure out what to feed the babies, in that case. Lots of palythoas, I guess. 

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I don’t think they were fertilized. The two employees who witnessed it say she ate them. I took the picture and I came back the next day and they were gone. I think there is a chance she was brushing them loose but they are both pretty sure she was eating them. 

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  • 3 months later...
  • 1 month later...
On 4/4/2020 at 8:55 AM, johnmaloney said:

Look at this guy 🙂 Has that similar but unique pattern too, they must all be like that. 


By any chance could you share where you bought him?


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Sadly I think I lost mine in a molt. I found a molt but not a crab...thought he was hiding but never reappeared :tears: I was heartbroken. 


Hope to buy another to eat my designer zoas again. Glad to see you are an excellent crab hunter/finder. 

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  • 1 year later...

How heavily do these guys go at zoas/palys, if provided with a growing colony? Are there specific ones they stay away from in favor of something else? 


I almost want to try one, once all my zoas have grown out into reasonable little colonies and could put up with some chewing. 


Is there a risk of them releasing palytoxin into the water as they feed, what with the whole "pulling up palys to eat" thing? 

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