What if what you wore determined if you were eaten or not?

We would all be in trouble, right? Well, it’s a good thing we aren’t the decorator crab. In order to camouflage themselves from predators, they decorate their shells with whatever they find in their surroundings, resulting in quite the unique style! Can you spot the crab in this photo?

Image: Decorator Crab blending in with their environment, unique camouflage!

Source: Wikimedia

If you’ve ever found yourself wishing you could blend into the background, you may be a bit jealous of these crabs.

“There are nearly 700 species of decorator crabs around the world—about a dozen of them in California, where they live in tide pools and kelp forests. They camouflage by decorating their heads, or their entire bodies depending on the species, with pieces of seaweed, anemones or other materials around them, which they attach securely to a natural Velcro that grows right on their bodies.” 1

Also, for a closer look at a few decorator crab species, here’s a quick informational video from  KQED San Francisco presented by PBS!

Via: Deep Look  2

Those are some pretty inventive disguises!

“Decorator crabs demonstrate a remarkably prescient instinct to be able [to] process the information required to successfully camouflage themselves to match their preferred habitat. Unlike the typically fast-scuttling crabs of the mainstream, decorator crabs move at a deliberately slow pace to reduce being noticed. 3

More from the decorator crab!

Similarly, here’s one species, Leptopsia setirostri, sporting an array of carefully selected zoanthids that are now growing on its exoskeleton! 4” Thanks to Coral Morphologic for creating such stunning footage of underwater life!

Want to see another crab species brandishing a few decorations for their survival?

Here’s a bonus! Meet the Lybia Crab (aka the pom-pom crab or cheerleader crab!) who is always grasping and waving around two anemones that assist in catching food and fending off predators!  6

Therefore, as you choose your next outfit, rest assure that whatever you do or don’t decide to put on your body won’t doom you to being scooped up as a birds dinner.
“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world” – Robin Williams 

This world is chock-full of some pretty cool creatures!

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  1. Quirós, Gabriela. “Decorator Crabs Make High Fashion at Low Tide.” KQED Science. KQED Science, 09 May 2017. Web. 28 Dec. 2017. <https://ww2.kqed.org/science/2017/05/09/decorator-crabs-make-high-fashion-at-low-tide/>.
  2. KQEDDeepLook. “Decorator Crabs Make High Fashion at Low Tide | Deep Look.” YouTube. Deep Look, 09 May 2017. Web. 28 Dec. 2017. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OwQcv7TyX04>.
  3. “‘The Florist’.” Vimeo. Coral Morphologic, 12 Apr. 2010. Web. 28 Dec. 2017. <https://vimeo.com/10860444>
  4. “‘The Florist’.” Vimeo. Coral Morphologic, 12 Apr. 2010. Web. 28 Dec. 2017. <https://vimeo.com/10860444>
  5. “‘The Florist’.” Vimeo. Coral Morphologic, 12 Apr. 2010. Web. 28 Dec. 2017. <https://vimeo.com/10860444>
  6. S, Kacee. “8 Facts About the Pom-Pom Crab.” PADI. PADI, 14 May 2015. Web. 28 Dec. 2017. <http://www2.padi.com/blog/2015/05/14/facts-about-the-pom-pom-crab/>.
  7. “Pom Pom Crab Dance.” YouTube. Rendogpico, 29 May 2011. Web. 28 Dec. 2017. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tKMxRBYQs5k>.

Sam has written and edited hundreds of articles since joining the EWC team in 2016. She writes about topics from the wonders of nature to the organizations changing the world and the simple joys in life! Outside of the EWC office, she’s a part-time printmaker, collector of knick-knacks, and taster of cheeses.