decorator crab (#43A, added 7 Jan '98)

This small cryptic-looking "decorator crab" appears to have mastered the art of disguise by attaching various anemones and coral polyps to its exoskeleton. Notice its greenish-colored eye at the end of its eye stalk (view of the crab's left side). A slow mover, even when approached, it seems to have complete confidence in its ability to remain inconspicuous. This particular specimen is about 1 inch in height. The alternate black and white bands on its legs distinguish this decorator crab from other, similar species.

The term decorator crab is loosely applied to a variety of true crabs which use various materials from their surroundings to disguise themselves. A "true crab" is different from other, similar crustaceans such as hermit crabs (despite the name hermits are not true crabs), lobsters, and crayfish-- in true crabs the skeletal plate above the mouth is fused to the
carapace. There are about 4,500 species of true crabs, ranging in size from one-tenth of an inch to over 12 feet in diameter. Crabs are crustaceans (along with crayfish and lobsters). All the crabs shown here are small in size, about an inch across.

Cyclocoeloma tuberculata
another decorator crab  (#63A)
decorator #2
... and another (#64A)
decorator #3 "before"
still another   (#65A)
decorator #3 "after"
pair of decorator crabs (#75A)
pair of decorator
crabs [106k]

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