Nudibranch’s Bad Day

Urchin carry crab Anna DeLoach
This is how you do it: hold onto that urchin with your hind legs (video frame capture)

Happy Friday! The photo above is an Urchin Carry Crab (Dorippe frascone) doing what it is supposed to do: carry an urchin for camouflage – that’s how it got its common name. These particular crabs of the family Dorippidae, have modified back legs that they use to grip the urchins or other assorted matter like leaves or discarded shells. They are muck diving icons – we see them on many dives. Below is a picture of a crab that has gotten it all wrong. It is carrying a nudibranch! And things are going badly for the normally slow moving sea slug – it’s moving backwards; it’s moving upside down; it’s moving under the power of a very clumsy crab. From my 2002 BlennyWatcher video archives: “Nudibranch’s Bad Day.” (video below, at end of post)

Carry Crab with nudibranch Anna DeLoach
Confused crab with a nudibranch on its back (video frame capture from 2002)