Creature Feature: Boxer Crab
Today is boxing day – so what could be a better Critter to write about than the Boxer Crab (Lybia tesselata, Pom Pom Crab or Mosaic Boxer Crab). But not only does its name fit the date. It is also a very popular Critter here in Lembeh – specially if you keep in mind that it is “just” a crab and not a Frogfish or an Octopus.
Its most distinctive feature are its “Boxing Gloves” – stinging anemones that it collects and holds on to for feeding and protection. If threatened it raises its protective anemones and waves with them like a boxer or a cheerleader (which gave the Boxer Crab also the name Pom Pom Crab). The second feature of the Boxer Crab is its attractive colour pattern of white, black and orange.
They grow to about 2 cm across from leg to leg and are specially attractive when they carry eggs: They are poppy red and held by the crab on the bottom of its carapace (see picture).
Boxer Crabs live – like many crustaceans – very cryptic: they stay hidden under rocks and coral debris. So if divers want to see Boxer Crabs, they have to CAREFULLY turn over rocks to find them. So the don’t touch anything rule has to be bent a little bit to turn broken coral bits – but it is better to leave this up to your dive guide! Usually you’ll find several of them in one area and none in another one – they have a very special preference to their habitat.
Best places to find Boxer Crabs in Lembeh: California Dreaming, Batu Merah, Angel’s Window, Yiko Yansi, Sarena Besar.
Best time to see: All year round.
Photo Tips: 100 mm Macro – good to have a buddy or dive guide to make sure the crab does not disappear in a crack while you are focussing.