Wednesday 6 November 2013

Candy Crab

Image: David Rolla
Hoplophrys oatesi
Pear drops, lollipops and all a sweet tooth likes
Crunch 'em, munch 'em, chew 'em up
But be careful of the spikes!

Image: Moorea Biocode
The Candy Crab is a delightful, little sweetie just 2 cm (0.8) long, the perfect size to pop in your mouth and enjoy mankind's sugary attempt to capture the essence of the chemical cocktail known as a strawberry.

Image: Tom Demeyer
Or it would be, were it not for the legs, the spikes and the general crabbiness.

Video: liquidguru

The spikes and bright colours are more about camouflage than taunting us like a painful honey dumpling or a hurty-hurty-schnookums. They disappear among the Indo-Pacific soft corals they live in and feed on whatever they can get their itty-bitty, clippy-claws on.

Video: Shane Siers

Sometimes they tear off polyps from the coral and attach them to their body to improve the camouflage.

Image: Nick Hobgood
It's a good thing they're as small as they are... schmoopsie-poo ain't so snuggly when it's covered in eviscerated fish. Unless, you know... you're into that sort of thing.


TexWisGirl said...

schmoopsie-poo. best word(s) of the day...

Joseph JG said...

Ha! Don't overuse it, I'm sure it's sweet enough to cause tooth decay if you say it too much!

Daniel Berke said...

Very cute. I've always had a soft spot for crabs...

Joseph JG said...

I'm sure they have a lot of exoskeleton for you, too!

Unknown said...

They also attach polyps so that if anything attempts to eat them they will get a sting!