Found in estuarian habitats from Nova Scotia to the Gulf of Mexico, Portly Spider crabs especially enjoy mudflats and mud-sand shallows. Tiny hairs, which cover their brownish shells, attract algae, sponges, seaweed, barnacles and debris, and sometimes they use their white-tipped claws to attach various items to their shells for hiding. This crab is slow moving and relies mainly on camouflaging ornaments as their best defense against predators. Unlike the Blue crab, it is not considered edible by people, but is eaten by a number of fish and bird species. They spend their time feeding on, and thereby cleaning up, debris and carrion left behind by other animals.
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Portly Spider Crab