Technology

A terrifying new species of crab identified by scientists that’s covered in “hair” – and it lurks in shallow waters

SCIENTISTS have discovered a creepy new species of crab that camouflages itself in hair scraped off other sea creatures.

Despite their menacing appearance, the “fluffy” beasts actually use it as a protective hat from predators.

Hairy business

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Hairy businessPhoto Credit: Colin L Mclay/Scientific Figure on ResearchGate
New species trims living sponges for their fur

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New species trims living sponges for their furPhoto Credit: Colin L Mclay/Scientific Figure on ResearchGate

They are very similar to the common hermit crab, but instead of shells, they cut living sponges and make a mantle out of them.

The fuzzy new species belongs to the sponge crab family and has been named Lamarckdromia beagle.

It was discovered after washing up on a beach near the city of Denmark in Western Australia.

“The extreme fluffiness was the gift for us,” said Andrew Hosie of the Western Australian Museum live science.

“The sponge crabs are often hairy, but it’s more like felt or velvet than all that shaggy fur.”

The crabs have special hind legs that allow them to hold the litter they collect above their heads.

These bits build up to form a tight fitting shield over the crab.

This avoids being spotted by predators such as large fish, other crabs and even squid, which would otherwise gobble them up for lunch.

The name is actually a reference to the ship that carried British naturalist Charles Darwin around the world.

The ship on which he traveled to Australia was called HMS Beagle.

“It is believed that this journey had a profound impact on Darwin and set him on his path to formulating his theory of natural selection,” Hosie added.

The new species was unveiled in an article published in the zootaxa Journal that also describes 31 other species of sponge crab.

Hair protects the crabs from predators

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Hair protects the crabs from predatorsPhoto Credit: Colin L Mclay/Scientific Figure on ResearchGate
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https://www.thesun.ie/tech/9028238/hairy-sponge-crab-discovered-australia/ A terrifying new species of crab identified by scientists that’s covered in “hair” – and it lurks in shallow waters

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