Page last updated at 15:15 GMT, Sunday, 8 November 2009

Sponge Bob crab goes on display

Sponge Bob crab
Sponge crabs are increasing in UK waters

An unusual crab more commonly found in Mediterranean waters has been landed in the pots of a Hastings fisherman.

The sponge crab, nicknamed Bob, measures almost 15cm (6in) across and has now become a resident of the Blue Reef Aquarium in the East Sussex town.

The crabs hold living sponges - which they cut to fit - on their shells to camouflage themselves from predators.

Sponge crabs are common in the Mediterranean and off the west coast of Africa but are increasing in UK waters.

Kate Buss, from the Blue Reef Aquarium, said: "They really are amazing creatures and it's fantastic to have one on display here.

"Sponge crabs have two pairs of modified legs tipped with needle-like pincers which they use to secure sponges which sit on their backs.

"They are quite adept at moving sponges over the whole of their body to enable them to hide.

"However, this means that they only have two pairs of legs to walk on so they tend to also use their front claws to assist them with walking."



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