June 19 2013,

Ixa is a small genus of crabs with very unique characteristics that separate this group from most other. The grooves that meander around the carapace are characteristic for this genus, and gives the crabs a jig-saw like appearance. The species above is Ixa cylindrus, and it is a very seldom seen, lesser known invertebrate in the aquarium world. Besides the unusual cracked shell appearance, the crab also sports two long cylindrical knobs that flank both sides of the animal.

Ixa cylindrus 1

The unique grooves that meander around the carapace are characteristic of Ixa crabs, and gives this species an eerie skull like pattern.

 Ixa cylindrus is a peaceful, slow moving crab suitable for any refugium or lagoon type reef. Not much is known about their behaviour, but from what we observe in the tanks as well as pictures from the wild, is that these crabs prefer very soft sandy substrate to partially bury or scuttle around in. They, like most crabs, readily take aquarium fare or food scraps that lie around the tank. Their dainty straw like claws and legs are more suited for scavenging rather than actively hunting food stuff.

The lavender colored crustacean has such a unique appearance that we can’t help but take a closer look. The carapace is fissured around what looks superficially at first glance, like an eerie human skull complete with darker purple hues for the orbital fossa. The crab is flanked, at both ends, with a thick cylindrical knob that adds to its crazy appearance. Such an interesting character would probably make a cool addition to any slow moving peaceful refugium or muck-reef style tanks.


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