One of the Critters that really has a suiting name is the Candy Crab (Or if you want to use the more boring names you can also call it Soft Coral Crab or Holophrys oatesii) … it really looks like a colourful piece of Candy. These Crabs grow to about 2 cm in size but also can be as small as just a few milimeters. They live exclusively in Dendronephthya Softcorals – and they match them in colour and shape. Therefor they can be – just as their host – found in Purple, Red, Pink, Yellow or White. Its thorn like extensions on legs and body mimic the polyps of the soft coral in a almost perfect way and in addition to that the Candy Crab even attaches pieces of the Dendronephthya on its carapace. Most of the time the Candy Crab lives hidden in between the branches of the soft coral and at times it can be tricky to find them and coax them out – a skilled Dive Guide it essential to not damage the coral.
Best place to find Candy Crabs in Lembeh Strait: As they live in only one type of soft coral they can also only be found on dive sites with this type of coral. Suitable Places would be Nudi Retreat, Nudi Falls, Angel’s Window, California Dreaming, Yiko Yance, Makawide of other “reefy” spots.
Shooting Tips: Depending on their size Candy Crabs are best Photographed with a 1:1 Macro Lens (60mm or 100 mm). For smaller individuals a Diopter might be necessary. Even though soft focus looks nice very often for Candy Crabs you need to stop down a bit more as their spiny outgrowth should always be in focus as well.