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Crinoid Squat Lobster

Posted on Monday, March 29th, 2010 at 10:15 pm by

Crinoid Squat Lobsters, Allogalathea elegans, are tiny crustaceans that make their homes on Crinoid Feather Sea Stars. It is thought that Crinoid Squat Lobsters host on Crinoids for protection, since Crinoids may have an unpleasant taste or toxin and are rarely eaten by predators. Crinoid Squat Lobsters also obtain food from their hosts; these kleptoparasites use their chelipeds to comb food from the Crinoids’ feathery arms. Crinoids Feather Sea Stars are nearly impossible to keep in captivity, but Crinoid Squat Lobsters do not require a Crinoid host to thrive in a home aquarium.

Crinoid Squat Lobsters are not actually lobsters, but are small, peaceful crabs of the family Galatheidae, closely related to Porcelain Crabs. Their coloration is variable; individuals adopt the color of their host for camouflage. The most common colors are black, white, and yellow. Most Crinoid Squat Lobsters are smooth, but some can be rather spiny, further helping to blend in with their host. Allogalathea elegans can be distinguished from the nearly identical Galathea inflata, also a Crinoid Squat Lobster, by having a longer rostrum that extends far past the eyes.

Crinoid Squat Lobsters are very peaceful and will not harm small fish, corals, or invertebrates. They are territorial, solitary creatures, but more than one may be successfully housed in a large aquarium. Disputes can be avoided if at least 10 gallons of territory is allotted per each Crinoid Squat Lobster. A single Crinoid Squat Lobster makes a perfect addition to a small nano aquarium. Crinoid Squat Lobsters are easy to feed and should be target fed pieces of frozen mysis and other meaty foods. They are hardy and adapt well to life in aquariums, but like other crustaceans, they are sensitive to copper, nitrates, and changes in salinity and water quality. Avoid aggressive tank mates or those large enough to consume the Crinoid Squat Lobster.

Photo by Felicia McCaulley

Care Level:Easy
Reef Safe:Yes
Conspecific Safe:Monitor
Water Parameters:72-78° F,dKH 8-12,
pH 8.1-8.4,
sg 1.020-1.026
Max Size:1.5"
Color:Black, White, Yellow
Felicia has been keeping aquariums since the early 90s and has a keen interest in taxonomy, aquaculture, and seahorses. she is the former Liveaquaria Diver's Den photographer and now works for Philadelphia area's largest aquarium specialty store The Hidden Reef.

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