Trapezia rufopunctata can reach the size of about 5 cm. It has quite long, flattened clawed legs (chelipeds). The squarish carapace has a spectacular mottled drawing, with about 100 to 200 reddish or orange spots on a white or pink background. This guard crab, like other members of the family, lives symbiotically in association with corals (usually hard corals of the genus Stylophora and Pocillopora), hiding deep within the coral branches. It feeds on coral tissue and mucus, and defends the corals from predators, like the coral-eating starfish Acanthaster planci.
Trapezia rufopunctata inhabits coastal reefs and lagoons.
This species of Trapezia are a favorite among many aquarists. They help keep the corals clean from detritus and waste, while also protecting the fragile coral from dangerous animals. Many people like to see the process of symbiotic relationships between these two animals, and its understandable.
- Serene, R. (1984). Crustaces Decapodes Brachyoures de l'Ocean Indien et de la Mer Rouge. Xanthoidea: Xanthidae et Trapeziidae. Editions Orstom. Collection Faune Tropicale No. 24
- John P. Hoover - Hawaii's Sea Creatures: a Guide to Hawaii's Marine Invertebrates - Mutual Publishing (1999) - isbn=978-1-56647-220-3