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Actaeodes tomentosus

Hairy Tank Crab

Xena Brooks (2014)



Fact Sheet



Physical Description




Feeding Habits

Habitat Distribution


Life History & Behaviour

Reproduction & Development

Territorial Behavior Experiment

Anatomy & Physiology

Digestive System

Sensory, Nervous, Endocrine, and Neurosecretory Systems

Musculature & Exoskeleton

Circulatory System and Excretion

Respiratory System

Evolution & Systematics

Biogeographic Distribution

Conservation & Threats



Actaeodes tomentosus, commonly known as the hairy tank crab, is a common species of Xanthidae crab, found on subtropical intertidal coastal habitats and reef crest. A. tomentosus inhabits many countries around the Indian Ocean and subtropical Australia.

A. tomentosus exhibit the territorial behavior found in many brachyuran crab species as they compete for secure locations within rock formations and coral rubble. For more information, see Territorial Behavior Experiment

The common name comes from the fine, hair-like aesthetascs that cover the legs of this species and may act as chemosensors. 

There has been very little research done on this common species, despite its wide spread habitat and relatively early discovery by H. Milne Edwards (1834). What is widely known about xanthidae crabs, such as A. tomentosus, is their toxic quality. There are recorded deaths in Mozambique and the Philippines from consumption of xanthid crabs. As of yet, there is no known antidote. A. tomentosus carapace remains have been found in the stomachs of larger, toxic crabs and it is believed that A. tomentosus and other small crabs play an integral role in the buildup of toxins in this superfamily. 

A. tomentosus is too small and potentially toxic for commercial use and considered a plight on aquarium systems, so there has been little profit-based motivation to study this species despite its high frequency and widespread habitat. 

Photo: Xena Brooks, University of Queensland Laboratory, 2014