The candy crab (Hoplophrys oatesi) is a small but stunning crustacean that lives on soft corals in the Indo-Pacific region. It has a remarkable ability to camouflage itself by changing its color and attaching coral polyps to its shell. Here are some interesting facts about this amazing animal:
- The candy crab can grow up to 2 cm in length and has four legs and tiny claws on its front limbs.
- The candy crab feeds on plankton that drifts by its coral home.
- The candy crab belongs to the family Epialtidae, which includes other crabs that live in symbiosis with marine organisms such as anemones, sponges, and algae.
- The candy crab is also known as the Oates's soft coral crab, the commensal soft
coral crab, and the Dendronephthya crab, after the genus of corals that it prefers to inhabit.
- The candy crab can be found in various colors such as white, pink, yellow, or red, depending on the color of the coral polyps that it mimics and attaches to its shell.
- The candy crab has spines on its body that are also colored to match the coral polyps, creating a striking pattern that resembles candy.
The candy crab is not easy to spot in the ocean, as it blends in perfectly with its coral environment. It is also not well studied by scientists, and its population status and conservation threats are unknown.