Scientists have discovered a fearsome new species of crab that disguises itself in the peeling hairs of other sea creatures.
Despite its menacing appearance, “thin” monsters actually use it as a protective hat from predators.
They are very similar to the common hermit crab, but instead of shells they trim a living sponge and make a coat out of it.
The new fuzzy species is part of the sponge crab family and has been named Lamarckdromia beagle.
It was discovered after being washed up on a beach near the city of Denmark, Western Australia.
“The extreme volatility has been a gift to us,” said Andrew Hosey, of the Western Australian Museum. Live Science.
“Spongy crabs are often hairy, but they feel like felt or velvet, and not that full shaggy coat.”
Crabs have special hind legs that allow them to carry the trimmings they collect on top of their heads.
These pieces are stacked to create an airtight shield on the crab.
This helps her avoid being spotted by predators such as large fish, other crabs and even octopuses that might devour her for lunch.
The name is actually a reference to the ship that carried British naturalist Charles Darwin around the world.
The ship he traveled on to Australia was called the HMS Beagle.
“This journey is thought to have made a profound influence on Darwin, leading him on his way to formulating his theory of natural selection,” added Hosey.
The new species was revealed in a research paper published in zotaxa Journal, which also contains details of 31 other species of sponge crab.
This story originally appeared the sun It is reproduced here with permission.