Lybia tessellata (Latreille in Milbert, 1812) (size not recorded)

Featured Invertebrate Data


Frequency on Okinawa: Collection Data:
[brackets indicate range for all Okinawa-collected specimens of the species]

Species Account:

        Lybia tessellata, the Pom-Pom Crab, is considered to be uncommon in the waters of Okinawa's main island. I've collected four individuals and have seen perhaps an additional half dozen or so individuals over a period of more than twenty years of Okinawa diving.

        I don't have access to Latreille's original description so I'm using the following description as found on Wikipedia.

Lybia tessellata is a species of small crab in the family Xanthidae. It is found in shallow parts of the tropical Indo-Pacific Ocean. Like other members of the genus Lybia, it is commonly known as the pom-pom crab or boxer crab because of its habit of carrying a sea anemone around in each of its claws, these resembling pom-poms or boxing gloves.

Lybia tessellata is a small crab growing to a width of about 2.5 cm (1 in). The carapace is trapezoid in shape and the margin has a distinct tooth-shaped projection on either side, just behind the short-stalked eye. The surface of the carapace is marked into several differently coloured, geometric regions by a network of dark lines giving it the appearance of stained glass. The chelipeds do not have the broad chelae (claws) typical of decapod crabs. Instead they are slim and each has a fine finger bearing eight or nine spines. The front pair of walking legs is smaller than the other three pairs but all are much larger than the chelipeds. The legs are banded with dark transverse lines, speckled with white spots and clad in sparse, short hairs. The claws at their ends are long and thin.

There is in addition to Lybia tessellata a closely related species, an animal endemic to the Hawaiian Islands, L. edmondsoni. Karplus, et al (1998) have a good description concerning the relationship of L. edmondsoni with a small anemone and its involvement as a weapon in crab contests.

There are quite a few images of Lybia tessellata found on the 'net. In addition, there are several sites exhibiting videos , one which is well done is seen at this link (the video was taken in Bunaken Marine Park, North Sulawesi, Indonesia).

        I've also added a second page w/ several additional images of Lybia tessellata.


Literature Cited:

Page Date: 15 may '17
Page Modification Date: 15 may '17
Digitally manipulated photo
Copyright © 2017 Robert F. Bolland