Porcelain crabs belong to a highly diverse family of marine crustaceans, distributed in the shallow waters of oceans worldwide. They also are known as "false crabs," because they evolved a crab-like form independently of true crabs. A relatively large number of porcelain crab species are symbiotic with other organisms, allowing scientists to tell a story of a long-time relationship between species from distantly related taxa.
"Most porcelain crabs live on the hard substrates of shallow waters like the surface of corals or rocks overgrown by algae, microbes and decaying material," said STRI research associate Alexandra Hiller, co-author of the papers. "Others live as symbionts of invertebrates like sponges, anemones, sea urchins, polychaete worms and other crustaceans."
Species - Examples - Porcelain - Crabs - P
The two recently described species are examples of these symbiotic porcelain crabs. P. socialis derives its name from the Latin word for "social" because it was found living with other organisms -- including the larger porcelain crab species, Polyonyx heok -- in the compact tube-like shelters built by the polychaete worm Chaetopterus sp. Its broad, flat walking legs and claw-bearing extremities appear to have been adapted for living tightly-attached to the worm tube walls and avoid being...
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