“Who??,” we hear you cry! Its the lovely Boxer Crab of course!
We found this little guy at a close-by dive site, recently, hiding in some coral rubble extremely shallow. As you can imagine we and our guests were all pretty excited to see him as they are pretty rare and are often hiding under small rocks, so making them even harder to find!! It seems like there was some kind of crustacean party going on – look at the two other little crabs he was hanging around with!!
You will notice it has a distinct colour pattern and enjoys a mutualistic relationship with small anemones, which is carries in its claws. The anemone’s stinging cells protect the boxer crab against predators, in return boxer crab provide food for its protectors. Boxer crabs use at least three different species of anemones, Bundeopsis sp and Triactis producta. The bonding with the anemone is not required for their survival and boxer crabs have been known to live without them and sometimes substituting other organisms such as sponges and corals.
We had already enjoyed a lovely dive before we happened upon the crab on our safety stops ( which went on for about 20 minutes so that everyone could get a good look!) – we had seen Wonderpus, Seahorses and a free-swimming Ribbon eel which is another rarity!