Sally Lightfoot Crab (Some Interesting Facts)

Sally Lightfoot Crab

The Sally Lightfoot Crab is scientifically known as Percnon gibbesi. It’s not the only crab with this name though. There’s another kind of Sally Lightfoot Crab too that lives on the Pacific coast of the Americas.

Besides being called Sally Lightfoot, people also refer to this crab as the Nimble Spray Crab or the Urchin Crab.

Sally Lightfoot Crab crab is special because it’s known as ‘the most invasive decapod species to enter the Mediterranean’. That means it tends to spread and take over places where it lives.

What Does the Sally Lightfoot Crab Look Like?

Adult Sally Lightfoot Crabs aren’t very big. Their shell, or carapace, is only 30 millimeters wide. That’s about 1.2 inches.

Sally Lightfoot Crabs have legs with yellow rings at the joints, which are quite eye-catching. Each of the crab’s five pairs of walking legs has a row of spines along the front edge.

When and Where Do the Sally Lightfoot Crabs Reproduce?

Female Sally Lightfoot Crabs that are carrying eggs have been found off the coast of West Africa. This happens between February and April and again in August.

The babies, or larvae, that hatch from the eggs are planktonic and live a very long time. This is one of the reasons why Sally Lightfoot Crabs are so good at spreading and taking over new places.

What Family Does the Sally Lightfoot Crab Belong To?

The Sally Lightfoot Crab belongs to a family called Percnidae. But some people think it should be placed in a different family called Plagusiidae.

Where Can You Find the Sally Lightfoot Crab?

The Sally Lightfoot Crab is one of the most widespread crabs of its kind. You can find it on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean and on the Pacific coast of North America. Its range extends from California to Chile.

In the Atlantic, Sally Lightfoot Crab is native from Florida to Brazil and from Madeira to the Gulf of Guinea.

It has also invaded the Mediterranean Sea, first found in Sicily in 1999. Since then, it’s been found on the Balearic Islands, in Greece, Libya, Malta, and Israel.

List of Places Where Sally Lightfoot Crab Is Found

  • Both sides of the Atlantic Ocean,
  • Pacific coast of North America,
  • California to Chile,
  • Florida to Brazil,
  • Madeira to the Gulf of Guinea, and
  • Mediterranean Sea (Sicily, Balearic Islands, Greece, Libya, Malta, Israel).

What Does the Sally Lightfoot Crab Eat?

Something unusual about the Sally Lightfoot Crab is that it only eats plants. Most crabs in temperate zones eat a mix of plants and animals, but not this one.

In the Caribbean Sea, it’s often found with the sea urchin Diadema antillarum.

Where Does the Sally Lightfoot Crab Live in The Mediterranean Sea?

In the Mediterranean Sea, the Sally Lightfoot Crab lives almost exclusively among boulders. However, it has a hard time competing with the native species Pachygrapsus marmoratus.

Who Are the Predators of The Sally Lightfoot Crab?

Even though the Sally Lightfoot Crab is good at spreading, it’s not very good at hiding. It’s often preyed upon by fish and other invertebrates.

Sally Lightfoot Crab Characteristics

Reef Safe?With caution
Care Level:Somewhat Easy

Scientific Classification

Scientific Name:Percnon gibbesi
Also Known As:Sally Lightfoot Crab, Nimble Spray Crab, Urchin Crab
Conservation Status:Unknown

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