Coral Crab, Channel Clinging Crab, Mithrax spinosissimus

 Good morning gang, I really can’t believe it’s Friday already!! Here is a big Channel Clinging Crab by request this morning. Most of you divers know this species by the common name Channel Clinging Crab, but it turns out that it has several other common names, including Reef Spider Crab, and Spiny Spider Crab, among others. The crab’s scientific name is Mithrax spinosissimus, and that designation stays the same, independent of the common name, which varies from place to place. This crab is a ‘true crab’ (as opposed to, say, a hermit crab), and belongs to the Majidae family. Majidae tend to have long slender legs just like this example above which is why the common names of many species in this family include the word ‘spider’. Majids also tend to have little hairs or bristle-like structures on their carapaces. Bits of material like algae, sponge, and so on attach to those hairs and act as part of the crab’s camouflage. Note that the walking legs of this species also are rather hairy, and are covered with ‘stuff’ while the business end of the crab those impressive claws, are smooth.  Like so many reef creatures, this species forages mainly at night. During the day, they hunker in the reefs, under ledges, and in cavelets. Because of their size, they can’t wiggle into small cervices like so many smaller species can do. Still, they can be difficult to spot during the day, since their decorated carapaces blend so well with their surroundings. These crabs inhabit a range from the sub-tropical western Atlantic to the Caribbean. They can be found in reef areas along the coasts of southern Florida, through the Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands, and throughout much of the Caribbean. Thanks to The Right Blue for this great information. Stijn and I started filming a mountain bike movie last night but will takes weeks of work to finish. Because of all the new green growth everywhere now we thought it would be a perfect time to start this long overdo project and so many have asked to see the trails here! I am off to the sea, have a great weekend and thanks for all the wonderful comments and suggestions. Barry MORE: Coral Crab, Channel Clinging Crab, Mithrax spinosissimus

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