Terrifying new crab species covered in ‘hair’ identified by scientists

Scientists have discovered a creepy new type of crab that disguises itself as the scraped hairs of other sea creatures.

Despite their menacing appearance, the “fluffy” beasts actually use it as a protective hat against predators.

They are very similar to the common hermit crab, but instead of shells, they carve living sponges and make a coat out of them.

The fuzzy new species is a member of the sponge crab family and has been named Lamarckdromia beagle.

It was discovered after washing up on a beach near the town of Denmark, Western Australia.

“The extreme plush was the giveaway for us,” Andrew Hosie of the Western Australian Museum told Live Science.

“Sponge crabs are often hairy, but it’s more like felt or velvet, rather than that full shaggy coat.”

Crabs have special hind legs that allow them to hold the trimmings they collect above their heads.

These pieces accumulate to create a snug shield on the crab.

This helps it avoid being spotted by predators like big fish, other crabs, and even octopuses that would otherwise gobble them up for lunch.

The name is actually a nod to the ship that carried British naturalist Charles Darwin around the world.

The new species was given the name Lamarckdromia beagle.
Colin L Mclay/Scientific Figure
hairy crab
The species’ new “cloak” is a means of disguise for the shy creature.
Colin L Mclay/Scientific Figure

The ship he traveled to Australia on was called the HMS Beagle.

“This trip is considered to have had a profound impact on Darwin, leading him to formulate his theory of natural selection,” Hosie added.

The new species was revealed in an article published in the journal Zootaxa, which also details 31 other sponge crab species.

This story originally appeared on The Sun and has been reproduced here with permission.

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