Last week I wrote a photo essay on all the beautiful shrimp in the oceans. But I’m here to tell you, shrimp have nothing on crabs when it comes to diversity and funkiness. Crabs come in all sizes, colors and patterns and have special features that enhance their survivability.
This big guy is known as a Seven Eleven crab because it has seven large spots on it’s top, and front, and four more across the back of it’s carapace making a total of eleven. It is about five or six inches across, and has a hard carapace. This one lives in Hawaii.
The Kelp Crab is found along the Eastern Pacific Coast, and lives up in the kelp canopy. It can also be around five or six inches across and defends itself with two large claws.
Another infrequent visitor to the California Coast is the tuna crab which is a pelagic crab. They swim in open water in huge schools and are often a favorite food of the tuna fish.
This decorator crab from Monterey, California, sits atop a sea star and is covered in algae and other marine organisms. It tries to camouflage itself by covering its carapace with plants, corals, algae and other marine life. They are hard to find, unless you see them move.
The Porcelain crab lives on anemones and feeds itself by catching debris in the water with fan like appendages on the ends of its claws. This one has eggs under it’s carapace. The one below is busy feeding with it’s “fans” out.
Sometimes called a Candy Crab, this soft coral crab lives in soft coral and blends in perfectly with its environment. They are small, usually less than an inch tall.
This tiny porcelain crab is a whip coral crab. It is very tiny, smaller than 1/4 inch although it’s larger brother measures about 1/2 an inch across.
An Orangutan crab is also a type of decorator crab. It is covered in red algae that looks like the fur of an Orangutan, not to mention it’s large front claws that are curved under like it’s namesakes hands.
Crabs and Shrimp make excellent meals for many predators so they have found a way to either camouflage themselves, or hide. This tiny crab lives inside a tube sponge. Since the opening is too small for fish to swim inside, it is safe unless it comes out on the edge, like this one.
Everyone loves a Hermit Crab. These crabs live inside empty shells and sometimes they will find part of a sponge, or other debris to make their home in. They have a soft body that is easily devoured by predators, so a hard shell home is necessary to protect it.
These are just a tiny sampling of the many species of crabs in the ocean. In fact, I counted more than a hundred different images in my library of various crabs. I think that all of them are beautiful in their own creepy way.
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