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Paromola cuvieri.jpg
Paromola cuvieri
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Crustacea
Class: Malacostraca
Order: Decapoda
Infraorder: Brachyura
Section: Dromiacea
Superfamily: Homoloidea
Family: Homolidae
De Haan, 1839

The family Homolidae, known as carrier crabs[1] or porter crabs,[2] contains 14 genera of marine crabs. They mostly live on the continental slope and continental shelf, and are rarely encountered.[3] Members of the Homolidae have their fifth pereiopods (last pair of walking legs) in a sub-dorsal position, which allows them to hold objects in place over the rear half of the carapace.[3] The objects carried include sponges, black corals and gorgonians, and this is behaviour may be a defence mechanism against predators.[3] Some species have been observed carrying living sea urchins in a symbiotic relationship which allows them to benefit from the protection of the urchin's dangerous spikes.[4][5][6][7]


A total of 14 genera are currently recognised in the family:[8]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Family Homolidae - carrier crabs at sealifebase.org
  2. ^ Family Homolidae (Porter crabs) at the Marine Species Identification Portal
  3. ^ a b c Mary K. Wicksten (1985). "Carrying behavior in the family Homolidae (Decapoda: Brachyura)". Journal of Crustacean Biology. 5 (3): 476–479. doi:10.2307/1547919. JSTOR 1547919. 
  4. ^ Relationships on the Reef
  5. ^ Carrier Crab video, National Geographic
  6. ^ "Carrier Crab". video.nationalgeographic.com. Retrieved 2015-06-11. 
  7. ^ Bates, Mary; 10, National Geographic PUBLISHED June. "Natural Bling: 6 Amazing Animals That Decorate Themselves". National Geographic News. Retrieved 2015-06-11. 
  8. ^ Peter Davie & Michael Türkay (2011). "Homolidae". World Register of Marine Species. Retrieved April 27, 2011.