Common Name: Dendronephthya Crab, Candy Crab
Distribution: Rare in the Solitary Islands Marine Park. Recorded from the Indo-West Pacific region; Mozambique east to Fiji, Taiwan in the north to Bundaberg on the southern Great Barrier Reef. In Australia recorded from around Exmouth and the North West Shelf in Western Australia, and the Great Barrier Reef in Queensland. This record the first confirmed sighting for the Solitary Islands Marine Park.
Ecological Notes: Frequents areas of coral and rocky reef where Dendronephthya spp. soft corals grow. This specimen photographed at a depth of 12 m.
Additional Notes: Rarely seen as It camouflages itself by mimicking the colours of the polyps amongst which it lives. Further camouflage is achieved by attaching polyps from the host soft coral to its carapace. Colours vary depending on the colour of the coral, and may be white, yellow, pink or red as with this specimen. Feeds on plankton. Grows to 2 cm.
References: Atlas of Living Australia website at https://bie.ala.org.au/search?sortField=&dir=desc&q=Hoplophrys+oatesii. Accessed 20/01/2023.
iNaturalist website at https://www.inaturalist.org/search?q=hoplophrys%20oatesii. Accessed 20/01/2023.