When you think of crabs, lobsters, and other underwater crustaceans you probably don’t picture them with luscious locks flowing in the wind (or currents, as the case my be). Well, I’m here to change your perception of crustaceans forever with these 6 hairy, fuzzy, and all around perfectly tussled creatures.
Hairy Yellow Hermit Crab
Habitat: Indo-Pacific Oceans
Status: No Conservation Concerns
My childhood was fondly composed of long days at the beach where I would collect hermit crabs, plop them into custom-built sandcastle habitats, and watch them scoot around excitedly. Never did I come across one like this, though!
This extremely hirsute hermie is known as the Hairy Yellow Hermit Crab (Aniculus maximus), which is characterized by its strong yellow legs covered in thick white hair. They’re omnivorous, eating both algae and fish. Gotta have a varied diet to keep your hairy arms looking luscious, after all.
Habitat: Indo-Pacific Oceans
Status: Not Evaluated
This hairy little beast is called (as it very well should be) a Hairy Crab (Pilumnus vespertilio). And this thing doesn’t look like it just stepped out of the hair dressers in Beverly Hills. Oh no, more like it had been stranded on a desert island without a good pair of clippers for a decade. Personally, I think it kind of looks like Chewbacca in crab form. But that’s just me.
Some people refer to them as the “teddy bear” of crabs since they do look so cute and fluffy when they fluff up in the water. So what exactly do those hairs come in handy for? I mean, other than making it look perfectly fabulous in the billowing currents, the hairs trap sediments allowing the crab to blend perfectly with its surroundings. When ‘fluffed’ in the water, this also helps to break up the crab’s actual outline so that predators can’t really tell where the seaweed-like hair starts and the crab begins. They reach anywhere between 3-5cm in length.
Violet-spotted Reef Lobster
Habitat: Indonesia, New Caledonia, Hawaii and possibly Japan
Status: Data Deficient
I’ve dubbed this overly hairy lobster the “Barbie Lobster” for its bright pink hue. It’s actually called Violet-spotted Reef Lobster (Enoplometopus debelius) but that just doesn’t have the same ring to it.
The lobster is decked out in its finest hot pink outfit for a night on the town. Just looks like Barbie Lobster forgot to shave its arms and legs for the night out. Oh, well. Work it, lobsta lady.
Chinese Mitten Crab
This fuzzy little Yeti Crab (Kiwa hirsuta) was discovered back in 2005 during a research expedition lead by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute using the submarine DSV Alvin. The hairy critter was discovered hanging out around hydrothermal vents around 7,200 ft deep near Easter Island.
Then in 2011, a less hairy second species in the family was discovered in the deep ocean off Costa Rica which was named Kiwa puravida after a common Costa Rican saying that means ‘pure life’. And how exactly does this crab lead an easy-going life you ask? Well, it leads a simple life of farming – farming the bacteria that grows on its hairy arms, that is. Yes, scientists documented that this strange creature actually cultivates tiny gardens of bacteria on its claws and then eats them. It even “waters” its gardens by waving its arms back and forth so as to provide the bacteria with fresh supplies of oxygen and sulphide to help them grow. Now that’s the real definition of arm candy!
Pink Hairy Squat Lobster
Habitat: Indonesian waters
Status: Not listed
These incredibly beautiful little creatures are Pink Hairy Squat Lobsters (Lauriea siagiani). They live on Giant Barrel Sponges and don’t usually like to get their photo taken. They’re a little bit shy That might have something to do with the fact that they only grow to a length of 1/2 inch. I’d be a little cautious about coming out if I was the size of a fingernail, too.
These squat lobsters are remarkably colored, with their intense pink body, purple spots, and bright yellow hairs that protrude in all directions.