Wild Harris

Spider Crab

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There are several different kinds of spider crab found around Harris. They get their name from their resemblance to spiders, particularly noticeable when they walk. The smaller spider crabs have a very neat trick to avoid being seen. Their body is covered in small sharp spikes, and the crab will pick up pieces of seaweed and stick them on the spikes where they continue to grow, creating a very effective camouflage. Individuals that live in deeper water where no seaweed is able to grow will instead attach small animals to themselves, such as pieces of sponge or even small sea squirts, which again make the crab almost invisible to predators. Unfortunately the crabs have to shed their shell in order to grow, whereupon they will have to find new material to adorn their clean new shell, starting all over again. Spider crabs are found on all seabed types, and the smaller ones are particularly common in kelp forests.

spider crab.jpg(Photo: Paul Tyler)

This tiny spider crab has only a few seaweed plants growing on its shell...

weedy spider crab.jpgWeedy Spider Crab    (Photo: Paul Tyler)

....whereas this one has cultivated a small forest of red weeds!

by Paul Tyler

Link to Shore Animals

Link to Soft Seabed Animals