Harlequin Crab

Lissocarcinus orbicularis

The Harlequin Crab lives in harmony (symbiosis) with sea cucumbers (holothurian echnioderms), living amongst the white tentacles of its mouth, or sometimes even sheltering within the cucumber’s gut cavity. The distinctive colour pattern of the crab, with red or black on a white background (reversed in some individuals), provides effective colour disruption against the white tentacles of the sea cucumber. The crab grows to only about 10 mm at its widest.

Found in tropical seas throughout the western Pacific and Indian Oceans.

Harlequin Crab, Lissocarcinus orbicularis (Image: L Newman & A Flowers)

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