Soft Coral Crab: Hoplophrys oatesii

In the spiny, colorful spicules of Dendronephthya soft coral, sometimes called "cotton candy corals", lurks the gumdrop-sized Hoplophrys oatesii, clad like a warrior in colorful camouflaged spines.  

Sometimes called the "candy crab", these marvelous little beasts will pinch off clumps of the soft coral and transplant them on their backs to add to their camouflage.  

While they look fierce, they only grow to 20mm (less than one inch) across, and they are hiders, not fighters. 

The genus Hoplophrys is "monotypic"...that means that there is only one species in the genus.  H. oatesii is the only one.