The Porcelain Crab

Preview Anemone porcelain crabs can avoid predators by not only living in anemones but by willing loosing appendages to avoid infection.
(Paul Flandinette, Flickr)

Anemone porcelain crabs may look delicate but they have their own sort of armor: a hard exoskeleton. They live under rocks, sponges, groups of feather stars, and even in giant anemones where they can hide inside the tentacles. Once inside they do not have to worry about gathering food since they are mainly filter feeders. Anemone porcelain crabs are also masters of escape and, if attacked, can separate the bitten appendage from their body in order to get away and stop infection. Their defenses are not perfect, however, since a hard exoskeleton is not enough to prevent barnacles from attaching to them. The barnacles can drill into the hard shell and form a parasitic relationship that eventually results in the crab’s infertility or death.