Campbell's Spider Crab

Hyastenus campbelli

In a brilliant innovation in camouflage Campbell’s Spider Crab doesn’t bother trying to mimic the background, but covers itself completely with sponges, such that when it is still it simply look like a sponge on a rock. The crab also sometimes uses sea firs (hydroids), lace corals (bryozoans) and other fouling creatures for camouflage. Interestingly, the sponges growing on this crab also contain their own communities of marine animals, such as brittle stars and shrimp – like a city on legs. This species grows to about 70 mm in length, and commonly found living around mussel clumps and sheltered rocky and coral reefs.

Found throughout tropical Australia and Indonesia.

Campbell's Spider Crab, Hyastenus campbelli, (Image: Ian Banks)

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