Absolutely Crabulous: Why Some Crabs Get Dressed Up
Covering themselves in everything from algae to urchins, crabs know how to accessorize for safety.
Most of us tend to see crabs as just a great set of legs, but they go to all kinds of trouble to be spectacular.
The 7,000 species of crabs on earth have looks ranging from scary to cute to surreal. Some are fashionistas, and some make pretty strange fashion choices—like toxic wigs.
Charmed and surprised by their ensembles, we couldn’t help wondering, “Why is it that crabs sometimes dress up?”
The aptly named sponge crabs of West Africa and the Mediterranean wear sponges on their heads and bodies, not to attract attention but to deflect it.
The sponges camouflage the crabs from predators, with some sponge species also emitting toxic or noxious chemicals, making the crab unappealing to predators.
Sponge crabs use