This little guy was spotted today galloping along en pointe. Only the movement attracted my attention, as he was so well disguised.
He was a challenge to photograph. He kicked up grains of sand forming a blur around him when he was on the move. As I swam closer he simply flopped to the ground. After about a dozen dives down he finally relented for the briefest moment and let me snap a shot of him on tiptoe
Can anyone ID him? I would love to learn more about the creatures and plants I am seeing. He was about 10cm in length and heavily covered all over in growth. Shell shape can be seen from the shadow.
Edited to add ID
Reach identified this as one of the decorator crabs. This description fits well. These crabs plaster themselves in "sedentary animals
and plants to their bodies as camouflage or, if the attached organisms are noxious, to ward off predators through aposematism" (Wikipedia).
This was a Small spider crab (Maja crispata)
that covers itself in algae.
Taken freediving @ 4m (13'), Sporades, NW Aegean, Greece
, August 2015: