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Uca perplexa (Family Ocypodidae)

Lemon-yellow Clawed Fiddler Crab



The Lemon-yellow Clawed Fiddler Crab has a north-eastern Australian distribution. It ranges from Cape York, Qld, south to the Hunter River in NSW (personal observation by Keith Davey at Stockton Bridge) (QLD, NSW).


The Lemon-yellow Clawed Fiddler Crab is a beautiful lemon-yellow and grey mottled fiddler crab found at high shore levels on sand shores. It grows to a carapace width of 15-20mm. The carapace of the male feels smooth but appears to be very finely granular, while the female carapace both feels and looks to be very finely granular. It has a broad front, but the frontal groove is shallow and indistinct. The eyebrows are narrow and short, only being half the length of the eye-channel. The eyestalks are moderately thick.

Neither of the Chelae fingers have a long median groove. The upper moveable finger is longer than the fixed finger. There is a trace of felt pile in the gape between the fingers. In the minor chelae, in both the male and e, the gape is as wide as the fixed finger width.

The carapace is grey-black with some cream mottling. The major chelae and fingers are lemon-yellow, with some grey-yellow. The eyestalks are grey-black. Its legs have brown and grey banding, occasionally with some grey speckles. The mouth region is pale grey.

For a full description see George & Jones (1982).

Ecology/Way of Life:

The Lemon-yellow Clawed Fiddler Crab is found high on the shore of sand to sandy locations, on the landward and seaward edge of mangroves in sheltered bays, creeks and river mouths.

Preferred Image

Interaction with Humans/Threats:

This species is found on sand shores inside the protection of the Great Barrier Reef. It is unknown whether there is a threat from human activities.

Other Comments:

Uca perplexa, H. Milne-Edwards, 1852. The type specimen was found in Java (Indonesia) in 1852 by H. Milne-Edwards, who named it Gelasimus perplexus. Other synonyms are Gelasimus annulipes, Kingsley 1880, Uca lacteae, Musgrave 1929, Uca lactea, Macnae 1966 and Uca (Celuca) lactea perplexa, Crane 1975.

Perplexa comes from the Latin word perplexus meaning entangled, while plexus means involved. Its modern meaning is to bewilder or tease.

Further Reading:

Davey, K. (1998) A Photographic Guide to Seashore Life of Australia. p.67, New Holland Press, Sydney.

Edgar, G.J. (1997). Australian Marine Life: the plants and animals of temperate waters. Reed.

Jansen, P. (2000), Seashells of South-East Australia. Capricornia Publications.

Jones, D. & Morgan, G. (1994). A Field Guide to Crustaceans of Australian waters. Reed.

George, R. W. & Jones, D. S. (1982). A Revision of the Fiddler Crabs of Australia (Ocyponinae: Uca). Records of the Western Australian Museum, Suppl. No. 14. P.83-86.


Text, map & photograph by Keith Davey.

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Images and Multi-media:  
Attached Image  
image/jpeg 88533 bytes Lemon-yellow Clawed Fiddler Crab
Distribution Map  
image/gif 947 bytes Distribution of Lemon-yellow Clawed Fiddler Crab

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