During a dive at ten mile point in Victoria, I was intrigued by this crab that I was unable to identify (sharpnose crab – Scyra acutifrons), and thought it was covered in a sponge and sitting on one as well.
Gregory Jensen was kind enough to offer his best ID guess considering the carapace is totally obscured from view …
“Based mostly on the size and thickness of the legs, I think this is a sharpnose crab (Scyra acutifrons) and probably a female. It’s pretty common for them to get thoroughly encased like this in a growing piece of decorative material.”
He also let me know that it was not a sponge covering the crab but rather a compound tunicate, and that the crab was also resting on a compound tunicate. Ten mile point is such an amazing dive site with a wide variety of invertebrate life. This is definitely the best shore dive in Victoria. Due to strong currents at this site there are limited opportunities for diving and current tables have to be followed.
The sharpnose crab can have a carapace width up to 1.8 inches (4.5 cm) across, with a range from central Alaska to northern Mexico.