Diminutive Disguises

The Graceful Decorator Crab (Oregonia gracilis) is a species of decapod mostly inhabiting the tidal waters of the northern Pacific Ocean.  This crab, however, carries with it a unique ability specifically adapted to help it survive in some of the most extreme environments on earth; the capacity to camouflage itself.  Living in cold regions of the ocean, food is plentiful bringing in large amounts of predators making this skill even more essential.  This crab is just one of a variety of Photo of Graceful Decorator Crab in natural habitat.  Photo by Derek Holzapfel.  Found at http://www.naturediver.com/pender-species/images/Graceful%20decorator%20crab%20Oregonia%20gracilis.jpgspider decorator crabs, named such for their remarkable likeness to spiders.  Although not the only crab to decorate itself, it is the creator of some of the most lavish and extravagant disguises in the animal kingdom.

            Living mostly off of small scraps from the murky seafloor, these crabs usually only growing to about 2 inches in size and are hardly the type of crab you would expect to find on your dinner plate at home.  But what this small arthropod lacks in size, it makes up for in cunning.  If the ingenuity behind its camouflage was impressive, the way that it has been witnessed using other organisms as effective tools to ward off predators is simply extraordinary.  Even as a miniscule creature far from the top of the food chain, this fantastic creature continues to fascinate scientists and curious onlookers alike.

If you want to learn more about fascinating organisms check out MultipleOrganisms.net.



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