Let me preface this post with the following statement, “if you want to see Xeno Crabs, Phuket wouldn’t be your first choice”. These guys are more common in the Philippines or Indonesia, in fact that was the only place I’d seen them, before yesterday when I stumbled on one here in Phuket.
The dive was simple enough, jump in, head north along the sandy bottom, see what we can find, the average visibility was about 4 Meters, the current and the customers where kicking up so much sand that the water around me looked like a blizzard. I just happen to be inspecting some whip corals on the reef edge and what do I find, three, yes three, whip corals shrimps. Whip coral shrimps are different from the guy in the picture, this photo is of a Xeno Crab. But as I was setting up my shot for the Whip Coral Shrimps, I did a complete double take, because I spotted this Xeno Crab.
First time I’ve found one here in Thailand, or anywhere that isn’t Phil or Indo. In fact I’ve never even seen anyone take a photo of one up here or mention finding one. So I was pretty excited, I knew I didn’t have a lot of time, I had four customers who I’d shown the Whip Coral Shrimps, already trying to disperse in a different direction away from me and the group into the murky waters. So I just started furiously snapping photos trying to get him in focus on a moving whip coral, with current and really bad visibility, all the while that little voice in your head is telling you your customers are about to disappear..
Anyway, besides all the fun environment variables, I managed to snap about 10 shots of him, 8 of them were slightly out of focus, two were nice, here is the one I like, as it’s a little closer to the lens without any cropping. While I was editing this photo it makes you truly appreciate just how well camouflaged these crabs are, the coloration matching to the coral is almost perfect, there is no way a predatory snapper or other fish species would see this little crab, nature may be a bitch, but she does make very cool little critters to deal with it :)