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Karen Honeycutt

Red modestly decorated crab from Philippines

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unidentified red decorator crab from Dumaguete

post-22398-0-97731200-1351468480_thumb.jpg

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Another difficult decorator. Perhaps something like a Schizophrys dama,

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Is the red on the crab its own color or is it a sponge growing on the crab?

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The red is a sponge. You can see that the first pair of legs lacks the sponge covering. that's typical of some Schizophrys and the shape of the carapace with the marginal spines is also typical of Schizophrys. But that's just my guess since I check guide books like everyone else when it comes to crabs.

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Judging by web images I think a lot of people get them confused. The commonly found IP Hyastenus have 2 prominent rostral spines. Some of them are decorators with sponge over the entire body & all legs; often the sponge over the 2 spines fuses into 1 club-shaped mass. Others don't use sponges & are fairly free of covering or just have hydroids or algae attached to the rostral spines. I would go with Schizophyrys (or something related) rather than Hyastenus for your animals.

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Thanks so much for the ID. This is something I would never have figured out on my own, since the sponge was clearly identifiable as such in the sponge decorator crabs I have seen before.

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