Meridian Adventure Dive bring you the monthly Raja Ampat Creature Feature series: Underwater Crabs
With over 67 000 known species of crustaceans found in the world, it should be no surprise that Raja Ampat is home to many crabs. While the most famous of these might be the endangered coconut crab, the islands are also home to smaller species of crabs that can be found hiding in plain sight on colourful reefs and even burrowing in sandy patches.
Hermit crabs are often confused for shells on the reef until you look closer and spot slight movements claws and legs emerging from the shell. These crabs protect their vulnerable exoskeletons by finding empty shells to occupy until they outgrow their mobile home and move on to a larger shell. However, finding the perfect shell can become a competitive event for crabs if both fancy the same shell, and at times these crabs can be subject to a forceful eviction by another crab.
These crabs are also known to form a queue around a vacant shell for a few hours until the crab best suited to the size of the shell will occupy the empty shell. Raja Ampat is home to both marine and land species of hermit crabs, so keep an eye out on the reefs and white sandy beaches during your stay.
Another interesting crab found in Raja Ampat is the Porcelain Crab. These small crab species can be found living in pairs under rock formations, their thin bodies are perfectly adapted to fit in small spaces, the perfect hiding spots. Their body is covered in small hairs and they have hairy claws. Their appearance allows them to blend into the soft coral on the reefs, making it very difficult to spot them as they move and feed on plankton.
Boxing crabs are a small species of crabs with very distinctive looks. Usually pink, brown, and yellow with a slightly translucent look. They have thin long legs and claws. These crabs have a unique relationship with anemones. The anemones live attached to the crab's claws, giving them the appearance of holding pom poms hence the nickname, the pom pom crab. The crab uses the anemones as a natural defense from predators, while the anemone feeds on debris and leftovers from the crab feeding. This is a genuinely unique crab to see while diving.
While these are only a few of the many many crab species you will see on the reefs of Raja Ampat, the area is the perfect place for macro lovers to spend hours looking for crabs of all shapes and sizes to observe and photograph.
About Meridian Adventure Dive
Situated in Raja Ampat, Indonesia, Meridian Adventure Dive is a PADI 5 Star Resort and winner of the PADI Green Star award. Scuba divers enjoy our professional services that have become synonymous with both the PADI and Meridian Adventure names.