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Peculiar Sea Crabs (Part One)

Marine Life mediumSeventh edition of Marine Life monthly post. Marine Life post published every 19th of the month. It aimed to share information on specific marine life species and to promote their conservation. All images are taken by me unless stated otherwise.

Crabs are among the most popular seafood in the world. In Singapore for instance, the chili crab is a popular dish and becomes one of Singapore’s National Dishes. I am sure that today, the chili crab is one of the favorite menus to celebrate the Chinese New Year. However there are so many different species of sea crabs and some of them have peculiar looks with beautiful colors.

The first peculiar looking crab I would like to introduce is known as Candy Crab because of its colorful skin. Its color skin is usually bright depending on the soft corals where it lives. Its biology name is Hoplophrys. It is easily camouflaged by mimicking the colors of the corals where it lives. Its presence usually very rare, you can imagine how happy I was when we spotted it in Apo Island, the Philippines. This crab is a native to Indo-Pacific region. With its size less than two centimeters, I think it will not be considered as part of any seafood dish.

I spotted this Neck Crab (Podochela sp) when diving in Maria La Gorda (Cuba). At first I thought it was a sea spider. The Neck Crab can be found in Caribbean’s water like in Bahama, Cuba and Florida (USA) at the depth of five to 30 meters and usually active at night. Its size is between two to seven centimeters. Its appearance is quite interesting, and usually we could spot it as a group of Neck Crabs.

Black coral crab (Quadrella maculosa) is commonly spotted in Indo-Pacific region. I spotted this crab when diving in North Sulawesi. It is very shy and usually hides in soft corals. One thing that I love about this crab is it has four colors that make it looks beautiful to look at: dark brown, bright brown, yellow and pink! Its size is between three to five centimeters. This crab is seen also during the day. Sometimes they are seen carrying eggs on their mouth.

Yellowline Arrow Crab (Stenorhynchus seticornis). The crab has triangular body and reddish or yellow thin legs. It is native to Atlantic Ocean and the Caribbean Sea. I spotted the crab in Bonaire and Cuba. This crab was not a shy ospecies. It was protective towards its territory. I was bit afraid that his thin leg would kick my lens as I was more worried he would break his leg than ruining my lens!

Dromia Crab with yellow spongeThe last crab on this post is a crab who usually seen carrying a sponge on its back as its camouflage. The crab is from Dromia family and there are six species of Dromia. Scuba divers usually called this crab as Sponge Crab while others called it as Smurf Crab when it was spotted carrying green tunicate sponge. These crabs are active at night and they make the night dive is more fun as the sponge that usually stood still during the day suddenly walking around at night.

First time I saw it was in Raja Ampat (Indonesia), the crab was walking around with yellow sponge. Following photos are the Smurf Crab that I spotted in Dauin, the Philippines. Unfortunately the images were not excellent due to foggy camera during the night dive.

As there are many odd-looking sea crab species, there will be more posts about the sea crab species on Marine Life monthly post. Please stay tuned 🙂



  1. Fabulous images, Indah!!! In fact, I am going to give my brother who does underwater photography, your blog link so he can see for himself, how glorious your work is. If I know him, he will be impressed. Great job, my friend. Love, Amy

    • Dear Amy, thank you so much for sharing my work to your brother..I hope he will enjoy the images 😦 You are wonderful and kind person. My best wishes for beautiful weekend to you! Hugs, Indah

      • The last I spoke to him via email, he was really impressed with your work. In fact, he was amazed you were in the Philippines the exact same time he was last September. How is that for a coincidence? (((HUGS))) Amy

  2. I love crabs! These crabs are in my aquarium (photo from the web):

    So many beautiful creatures that are so small that we don’t notice them. Thanks for sharing your photos, Indah, they’re as beautiful as ever.

    • Thanks so much Rob! The crabs in your aquarium are totally awesome!! Are they saltwater crabs? What species are they? Oooh, I would love to see them during the diving 🙂

      • You’re welcome, Indah! Their latin name is Calcinus elegans. They’re from the Marshall Islands and Indonesia. They’re salt water and very small, growing to about 2 inches. They’re attractive, hardy and help clean the aquarium of leftover food.

        • Awesome!! Now it is on my list to spot on during diving! I just read that this is certain type of hermit crab..I have seen several hermit crab before but not as unique as the calcinus elegans 🙂

    • Thank you Boots! 🙂 there are many more crabs to introduce -the reason I love to dive in the Philippines and Indonesia, their seas have plenty of amazing species 🙂

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