If you had not read the title coming here I would bet 5$ that you have no idea what the hell this thing is, am I right? To be fair, I’m taking an educated guess as I’ve never seen the decorator crab without it immensely dense coral growth protecting it, but these spider looking crabs simply don’t fit the other crab family’s, so it’s either a malting decorator or a juvenile growing it’s first blanket of oral decorations.
We found this one and the one pictured below in Egypt on our only night dive of our Emperor liveaboard trip to the deep south of the red sea, you primarily visit this region for Sharks, which we saw loads of by the way, but you are not really looking for them at night, so it was time to do some macro hunting.
Turned out that one of the rock/coral outcropping dotting the sandy bottom was home to a huge variety of crustaceans and other interesting macro critters, was a bit like the Burj Khalifa Hotel of the red sea for crabs as far as I could tell. The entire thing was moving with life from arrow crabs to fire coral crabs and several others I’d struggle to ID later.
This image is one of the more interesting ones showing the Decorator (I think) in full, undecorated, glory. But what you are looking at is the juvenile growth of corals all over his legs and arms, polyps and coral are starting to feed and grow on every inch of him, which is pretty awesome to capture and see.
If you happen to be in the Red Sea this year, don’t skip your night dive!