Lesser-Spotted Shame-Faced Crab – Cryptosoma cristatum

The Lesser-Spotted Shame-Faced Crab, sometimes called shame crab only or Small-Spotted Shame Crab, is a species in the order of the Decapoda and thus belongs to the subphylum of the Crustacea. Cryptosoma cristatum was first described in 1837 by Brulle.

Lesser-Spotted Shame-Faced Crab Small-Spotted shame crab Cryptosoma cristatum Crustacea decapoda species diving canary islands canaries atlantic ocean
Lesser-Spotted Shame-Faced Crab – Cryptosoma cristatum


The Lesser-Spotted Shame-Faced Crab has a massive appearing body. The very massive scissors also produce a hemisphere with the body.

The base colour is red-brownish with fine white dots.

The eyes of Cryptosoma cristatum protrude clearly and have a blue stalk.

It reaches a size of up to 7cm.

Habitat and Distribution

The Lesser-Spotted Shame-Faced Crab lives on or in sandy soil, in depths between 10 and 400m.

When diving in the Canaries you can observe them from time to time. However, Cryptosoma cristatum is very shy and burrows fast in the sand despite great distances to the diver. Usually only their eyes are to be seen.

The distribution area of ​​Cryptosoma cristatum extends over the western Mediterranean, and the eastern Atlantic. They are found around the Azores, Maideira, the Canary Islands and Saint Helena.


Little is known about the life style of the Lesser-Spotted Shame-Faced Crab. So far I’ve only seen it solitary.

Often one can see that the Wide-Eyed Flounder follows Cryptosoma cristatum in order to dust off the flushed prey.





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