Nimble Spray Crab – Percnon gibbesi

The Nimble Spray Crab, also known as Sally Lightfoot or Urchin Crab, is a species in the order of Decapoda and thus belongs to the subphylum of the Crustacea.

Nimble Spray Crab - Percnon gibbesi crustacea species diving canary islands atlantic ocean canaries
Nimble Spray Crab – Percnon gibbesi


Percnon gibbesi has a flat, rounded body with a reddish brown colour. It has five pairs of legs, one of which is turned into scissors arms. In addition the legs are yellow striped. They reach a maximum size of 6cm.

Habitat and Distribution

The Nimble Spray Crab lives on rocky ground with hiding places and algae growth. When diving in the Canary Islands, you can observe them on every dive. It also occurs in the Mediterranean Sea, in the western Atlantic from Florida to Brazil, in the eastern Atlantic from the Azores, via Madeira, to South Africa and on the Pacific coast of America from California to Chile.

It is one of the most invasive species in the Mediterranean because it can multiply rapidly.


Percnon gibbesi feeds primarily on carrion, algae and detritus.
They are generally very shy and hide quickly when you make jerky movements or get too close to them.
Often they are seen in the protection of sea urchins.