The Spotted Reef Crab

Illustration by Klas Ernflo

“I chose to draw the Spotted Crab because of the incredible vivid pattern on its back. I love crabs in general but these ones are also walking and swimming pieces of graphic art.“


Widely distributed in the Indian Ocean and the South Pacific, the Spotted Reef Crab (Carpilius maculatus) is a large crab species with distinctive reddish-brown circular spots reminiscent of pepperoni. Think twice about munching on this crab though: while it is extensively collected for food, it can be toxic due to its diet of poisonous molluscs. According to a Hawaiian legend, this crab has spots because it injured a sea god that was trying to catch it, and the red spots are the trace of the deity’s bloodied fingers.

Text sourced from Oceana, an Ocean Friend organisation dedicated to preserving and restoring the world's oceans.

Read more about the Spotted Reef Crab