Decorator crabs are an important food source for some fishes, including croakers and cabezon.
A crab’s shell doesn’t grow, but the crab does. To solve this dilemma, a crab must molt as it grows, shedding its old exoskeleton and forming a new, larger one. The old shell loosens as a new one forms beneath it. When the old shell splits, the soft animal crawls out. Before its new shell hardens, the crab absorbs water and expands to a size larger than before the molt. While the new shell is hardening, the crab hides from predators.
Decorator crabs recycle their living decorations during the molting process—they remove the anemones, sponges and other decorations from their old shell and use them to decorate their new shell.
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