Orangutan crab, Achaeus japonicus

Photo: Daniel Vaulo/Flickr

Orangutan crab, Achaeus japonicus

Photo: Ludovic, Flickr

Achaeus japonicus, Orangutan Crab

Photo: Paolo Lora/Flickr

Achaeus japonicus, Orangutan Crab

Photo: Ben Naden/Flickr


Habitat: Tropical waters of the central Indo-Pacific
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Status: Not Listed
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Holy mother of cuteness. This eety-beety creature is the Orangutan Crab (Achaeus japonicus) which only has a carapace (body) of about 0.8 inches in diameter with extra long arms compared to its body. It’s covered in reddish brown hair sometimes laden with bits of “stuff” like shells or sand to increase its camouflaging capabilities.

Of course, you can see where it gets its name – it really does look like a miniature crustacean version of the orangutan! Can we all stop and take a moment to imagine this thing swinging from corals and stuff. How cool would that be?

Orangutan Crabs are typically found on bubble coral (Plerogyra sinuosa) just hanging out, doin their thang. That usually consists of sitting and waiting for plankton to get stick in its luscious locks, which it then picks off as snack food for the day. It uses its claws to “groom” out the tiny food stuffs and then plops the plankton into its mouth. So, again, we see a resemblance to the ape orangutan in that picking off parasites and [plankton] is something all the cool orange-haired creatures do.

It really makes you wonder… which came first: the Orangutan Crab or the Orangutan? Dun dun dun!