The words “Creepy Crawly” often conjure up images of centipedes, spiders, caterpillars, and other unsavory types of insects we would classify as pests. As I was searching through images I took in Anilao, Philippines, I realized that what we photographers affectionately refer to as “critters” in the ocean, might be considered a creepy crawly if it lived on land.
The critter in the image above is a dragon shrimp. Not the kind you might have as a sushi plate, however. This little guy is only about a centimeter or two in length. It lives on whip coral and black coral. The way it clings to the branch of the coral reminds me of a grasshopper.
The Whip Coral Shrimp looks similar to the dragon shrimp, only it doesn’t have three spikes on it’s back. It does have a pointed spike behind its eyes, though. These shrimp are translucent, making them very interesting to study closely.
Another Whip Coral Shrimp looks a lot like the Zanzibar, but doesn’t have the spikes on its back.
Here is an ocean-dwelling spider-like crab, called a Conical Spider Crab. It also dwells on whip coral, and reminds me of a spider getting ready to jump.
This is one of the larger creepy crawlies, coming in at about 5 cm. I call this the Pinnochio crab because it’s nose is almost as long as it’s body.
I was lucky enough to spot a Squat Lobster on the same arm of a crinoid as a slender shrimp. Both are about a centimeter long, and just happened to be facing each other.
My last image is of another Whip Coral Shrimp. This one matches its host, and is almost impossible to find, making it invisible to predators. It is also about a centimeter in length.
One of the interesting things about the creepy crawly critters in the ocean, is that they don’t creep me out like the creepy crawly critters on land. I wonder what the difference is? It can’t possibly be because of their ability to crawl down my neck, because I did find crinoids creeping up my leg several times while in Anilao, and I didn’t freak out. I guess it is just another one of the wonders of the sea!