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.
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.
- Get the latest science news
- Stay up to date with the top stories about space and astronomy
- All archeology news from dinosaurs to ancient artifacts
Learn more about science
Want to learn more about the weird and wonderful world of science? From the moon to the human body, we’ve got you covered…
We pay for your stories! Do you have a story for The Sun Online Tech & Science Team? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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