Marble Crab (Metasesarma obesum)

From Pet Wiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Marble Crab
Metasesarma obesum
Marble Crab (Metasesarma obesum)
Name Marble Crab
Name Lat. Metasesarma obesum
Family Sesarmid Marsh Crabs
Family lat. Sesarmidae
Order Decapods
Order lat. Decapoda
Origin Southeast Asia
Habitat Mangroves, estuaries
Diet Crab food, leaves, fruits
Humidity 70-90 %
Behavior Peaceful
Keeping Pair, harem
Care Level Easy
Housing Humid terrarium
Breeding None reported
Life Span 2-3 years
Protection No
Metric Units
Size 3-4 cm
Temperature Day 24-28 °C
Temperature Night 20-22 °C
Housing Size 60 x 40 x 40 cm
US Units
Size 1.6"
Temperature Day 75-82 °F
Temperature Night 68-72 °F
Housing Size 25" x 15" x 15"

Distribution and habitat

The marble crabs are widely distributed in the Indo-Pacific region, from Thailand to Indonesia and northern Australia. They live mainly terrestrially in the intertidal zones of rivers, in mangrove swamps and on sandy beaches with some distance to the sea.


They need a terrarium (aquaterrarium) with a deep substrate suitable for cave building, made of non-rotting substrate such as sand-peat mixture with coconut fibers and sphagnum moss with a drainage, covered with leaves and pieces of bark

In addition, climbing branches with rough bark and branch forks in which water can collect. It is advantageous to have artificial plants as privacy screens, which can be easily removed for cleaning

They need a not too deep (danger of drowning) shallow water basin with fresh water for bathing. An additional watering hole with seawater should not be missing. Regular water changes are required to maintain water quality

Daily 1-2 times the terrarium must be finely sprayed with water inside (humidity), but better is a rain or fog system.

Temp. air: 24-28 °C Temp. water: approx. 25 °C Humidity: 70-90 %

The lighting duration must be 10-14 hours depending on the season. Daylight fluorescent tubes with low UV content are very suitable, supplemented with spotlights.


They need animal and vegetable food. For a species-appropriate diet, the food supply consists of foliage (oak, beech, sea almond tree), vegetables (peas, carrots, zucchini, etc.), fruit (apple, pear, banana, etc.) supplemented with high-quality dry food for fish, crabs and shrimp (spirulina tabs) and commercially available frozen food mixtures. Occasionally, chicken meat and smelt can be offered. It is important to regularly add minerals (cuttlebone, calcium powder) and vitamins

A regular and varied diet promotes health and prevents deficiency symptoms. Unaccepted food should be removed after 4-5 hours.

Behaviour and compatibility

They are well tolerated social animals and should be kept in a harem, one male with several females, or at least in pairs. A socialization with other mangrove crabs is possible, but it is better to keep them in a species tank.

Basically only compatible species with similar requirements should be kept together

Reproduction and breeding

Males have much larger claws and a pointed abdominal valve (pleon), which is rounded and much wider at the top in females

The females carry several thousand eggs in their abdominal pouches until the larvae hatch. The larvae live planktonically in seawater, where they go through several stages of development until they return to land as finished juvenile crabs about 5 mm in size.

There are no known reports of successful breeding.


With increasing age, the animals live predominantly terrestrial. They can communicate with each other by gestures and knocking signs.

Special care should be taken to cover the aquaterrarium well, as they are escape specialists. Escaped crabs dry out quickly.

The aquaterrarium must have good ventilation without drafts and meet the species specific needs. Measuring devices such as thermometers, hygrometers, etc. are necessary. The lighting must correspond to the species-specific day-night rhythm and must be installed in such a way that the animals cannot injure themselves. Contamination must be removed regularly.

Further literature can be found in your pet store.


Text: petdata; Image: Heike Dixon

Source: WERNER (2002): Garnelen, Krebse und Krabben im Süßwasseraquarium, Verlag ACS; ENGELMANN & LANGE (2011): Zootierhaltung - Tiere in menschlicher Obhut: Wirbellose, Verlag Harri Deutsch