Postcard from the Reef – Guard Crab

Most divers do nothing during their safety stop, I have some trouble doing that. Hanging in the water fifteen feet below the surface for five minutes is sometimes pleasant, sometimes boring.

Also hanging fifteen feet down is the mooring ball, a buoy holding a steel cable near the surface so the dive boats can avoid dropping anchor on the reef. I have made a habit of checking out the growth on the mooring ball and line during my safety stop. I have found hydroids, wire coral gobies, even corals growing here, no real estate goes unclaimed around the reef.

A set of cauliflower corals were growing on this cable, complete with the usual community of critters that find shelter in the branches. Even more convenient, I could rotate the coral colony simply by twisting the cable to which it was attached, giving me a chance for a better photo of a guard crab…

Common Guard Crab
Common guard crab (Trapezia intermedia) in a small cauliflower coral (Pocillopora meandrina) growing on a mooring buoy cable.

Author: Andrew

An electrical engineer, amateur astronomer, and diver, living and working on the island of Hawaiʻi.

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