Xeno Crab (Xenocarcinus tuberculatus)

4cm Orange and brown Xeno crab sitting on a whip coral
Xeno crab @ TRACC

Xeno crabs are bizarre little spider crabs that live in symbiosis with certain species of Black Corals. They are very well camouflaged to avoid predation, and therefore come in a wide variety of colours to blend in with their host coral.

Whether you regard the Xeno Crab’s cold, blank porcelain eyes and spiky armour with horror or admire its intricate markings and unique shape as beautiful, it is indeed a sight to behold.

Whip Corals are always worth a second look as they play host to many different partners, such as shrimps, crabs and gobies. As the creatures living on Whip Corals are so small, you really must get quite close in order to have a proper look.

However, this should be done with caution, although Whip Corals seem sturdy and flexible they are still corals, meaning they are complex and fragile organisms. They may not break as easily as some other corals, but they can get tangled in dive gear causing them to bend and even snap or be ripped out at the base completely. What can take decades to grow can be destroyed in seconds.

Everything you wanted to know about Xenocarcinus tuberculatus