A new species of crab, with a body covered in fluff and hair, was recently discovered off the coast of Western Australia. The crab featured a layer of soft, fluffy material fashioned from the follicles of sea sponges. pincer-like sea sponges and carry them on their shells. The crab found on the south shore of Western Australia is a new species of sea sponge.
The researchers named the new species Lamarckdromia beagle, to commemorate the ship named HMS Beagle that carried British naturalist Charles Darwin to Albany in 1836. The newly discovered crab was named in honor of Darwin since it is only found ‘between Albany and Cape Naturaliste, while sponge crabs are found all along the Australian coast.
The Western Australian Museum’s crustacean and worm curator, Dr Andrew Hosie, discovered the new crab when it was submitted to him by a family walking on the beach when they came across it. Dr Andrew found the crab very unusual since sponge crabs usually have a more velvety coat, while this new crab had a very hairy appearance.
“Extreme softness was the gift for us. Sponge crabs are often hairy, but it’s more like felt or velvet, rather than this full shaggy coat,” Dr Andrew told Live Science. Dr Andrew, after acquiring the species, contacted Colin McLay, a former marine biologist, who confirmed that the species was previously unknown.
Speaking of crabs’ mannerisms, in an interview with ABC he said, “They have an unusual behavior while carrying a piece of living sponge.” He added: ‘You will find them in shallow water and down to a few hundred meters, usually around dwarf pylons or anywhere with substantial sponge growth.
The name beagle for the extra fluffy crab also fits very well because it mimics the brown coloring that beagle pooches have on their bodies and faces.
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