Crucifix Crab, small (AAA)

Review and images by Bruhmingo; edited by bmathison1972

My passion as a collector is most geared towards replicas cast from real specimens, and AAA is perhaps the best known producer of such models. AAA is a rather mysterious company that produced many of our favorite cast replicas. While this means exemplary detail, it is often incredibly difficult to identify the species a figure is representing, usually due to mislabeling or an inaccurate paint scheme. The AAA crucifix crab, (Charybdis feriata), is a notable exception. Despite the generic label of “crab”, this model is accurately painted to match its real life counterpart, and while cross referencing actual images of C. feriata, it is clear this model was cast from that species.

The crucifix crab is a small swimmer crab in the family Portunidae, and it is found throughout the Indo-Pacific. Its common name is derived from the distinct white cross on the anterior end of the carapace. There are stories of Jesuit priests blessing the crabs, giving them this signature cross, and their shells are occasionally sold as religious good-luck charms. An interesting, though unlikely history.

This figure has a carapace width of 7.5 cm, (about 3 inches), though as with most of AAA’s crustaceans, there is a larger version cast from an adult specimen. The crucifix crab is known to have a carapace width of about 20 cm, (8 inches). That would make this figure about 1:2.5 scale for an adult, or 1:1 for the juvenile it was cast from.

As is common for AAA’s cast models, the sculpt is fantastic, but the paint is lacking. While a major improvement over most of AAA’s inaccurate color schemes, the application is sub-par, even by their standards. Please be aware that there is another crab figure by AAA with the same paint scheme, but it appears to be cast from a blue crab, or other related species.

The AAA crucifix crab is a wonderful figure of an obscure crustacean. At the time of writing this review, it can be found at veghead.com.

I want to thank the Animal Toy Blog/Forum and anyone reading for the opportunity to shed some light on these figures. I intend to do more reviews on rarer AAA models in the future. If there are any suggestions or information you would like to see included in future reviews, I’d appreciate your feedback.

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Comments 6

  • I am super excited to see this review, but also a bit let down, because it made me realize my ‘crucifix crab’ was the mis-painted blue crab. Which means, I still need the AAA crucifix crab in my collection!!! I went to veghead, but it is sold out. Will have to keep my eyes peeled for it on eBay….

    • That’s a shame, I forget veghead’s stock takes a while to update. I’ll let you know if I find another!

      • Thanks! As an arthropod specialist I hate to lose a unique species 🙂

      • When I first bought the (blue crab) version, I thought it was a sargassum crab. What do you think of that ID?
        I found it here advertised as such (not that that is very confirmatory): https://www.leaveonlybubbles.com/product/spotted-sargassum-crab-model/

        • I actually think you’re right on that ID. The thing that made me question if it was really from genus Callinectes were the specific pattern of spines along the arms. They don’t match that of a blue crab or other members of the genus, but it seems to be a near identical match to Portunus sayi. The pattern is closer to that of a crucifix crab, but it is similar enough that I would consider it a valid representation of the species.

          • Great, I am going to change it back to sargassum crab then (which is what I had it as originally LOL). So, I didn’t lose a unique species, just a different one than I thought 😉

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