Sea Creature Feature of the Week: Boxer Crab

The boxer crab, sometimes known as the “pom-pom” crab, takes its name from a unique symbiotic relationship in its marine habitat. Symbiosis is the mutual interaction of two organisms that is usually beneficial to both.

The boxer crab, sometimes known as the “pom-pom” crab, takes its name from a unique symbiotic relationship in its marine habitat. Symbiosis is the mutual interaction of two organisms that is usually beneficial to both.

With whom is the boxer crab interacting? 

The boxer crab clings to sea anemones with stinging cells to protect against danger while simultaneously providing food to the anemone. However, neither species need this relationship to survive. 

The boxer crab, from the Lybia genus, dwells in the Indo-Pacific region’s tropic shallow water, from the Red Sea, along East African coasts all the way to Indonesia and New Guinea. Native to the Hawaiian Islands is the Hawaiian boxer crab or Lybia edmondsoni. They are known as kūmimi pua in Hawaiian, which translates to “inedible flower crab.”

How Big Do Boxer Crabs Get?

This species barely grows to be around 1 inch long, making them extremely difficult to notice. They are unlikely to stay out in the open for long, preferring to hide among stones and rubble to avoid predation. Small rock dwellers are likely to be potential predators.

How Do Boxer Crabs Find Sea Anemone?

Researchers have reported a remarkable behavior of Lybia crabs, according to Science Daily. They explain a series of tests in which they demonstrated that when these crabs need an anemone, they will fight to steal one from another crab and then both crabs will split their anemone into two, creating identical clones.

There are currently no defined conservation efforts for this species, and the IUCN Redlist has yet to determine the status of boxer crabs.


Sources: 

https://roaring.earth/boxer-crabs/

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/01/170131075121.htm