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2. Xeno Crab (Xenocarcinus tuberculatus)


Underwater videography has been essential in capturing the unique adaptations and behaviours of marine wildlife, such as the Xeno Crab, also known as the Wire Coral Crab (Xenocarcinus tuberculatus). This small crustacean has evolved to thrive solely on black wire or whip corals (order Antipatharia), making it a fascinating subject for underwater videography, underwater photography and underwater film making.

The Xeno Crab's ability to blend in perfectly with its host coral is due to the tubercles or small bumps covering its round, flattened body. These tubercles closely match the polyps of the black wire corals, making it difficult for predators to detect the crab. Underwater videography has allowed us to see the Wire Coral Crab's remarkable camouflage and appreciate the beauty of this unique adaptation.

Underwater film making has also allowed us to study the family of Imitator crabs to which the Wire Coral crab belongs. All these crustaceans have specialised adaptations for living exclusively on specific corals. The Wire Coral Crab (Xenocarcinus tuberculatus) lives exclusively on black wire/whip coral, the Conical Spider Crab (Xenocarcinus conicus) is associated with black bush corals and the Depressed Spider Crab (Xenocarcinus depressus) lives solely on gorgonians. The delicate legs and small claws of the Wire Coral Crab allow it to move around the coral without damaging it, and its feeding behaviour involves capturing particles that are missed by the coral's polyps. Marine wildlife video has allowed us to observe the Xeno Crab's feeding behaviour and appreciate the intricacies of its relationship with the black wire coral.

In addition to its unique adaptations, underwater videography, underwater photography, and underwater film making have also allowed us to study the Xeno Crab's reproductive strategy. Female Xeno Crabs carry large egg masses on their bodies, which they attach to the black wire coral for protection. Through underwater videography we can witness this fascinating behaviour and understand how the Wire Coral Crab reproduces and continues to survive in its fragile underwater and marine ecosystem.

However, the Xeno Crab's limited distribution (this little crustacean only lives on the coral reefs of the Indo- West Pacific) and vulnerability to habitat loss and environmental pressures highlight the importance of protecting fragile marine ecosystems. Underwater videography and underwater photography have helped raise awareness about the importance of preserving these ecosystems and the creatures that call them home.

The Xeno Crab is a remarkable creature that has evolved unique adaptations to survive on black wire corals. Underwater videography, underwater photography, and underwater film making have allowed us to appreciate and study the Wire Coral Crab's remarkable adaptations and behaviours. These techniques have also helped raise awareness about the importance of protecting fragile marine ecosystems and the creatures that inhabit them, such as the fascinating Wire Coral Crab.


Whip and wire corals are subject to the ocean’s current and have the tendency to tremble and/or swing back and forth in the rhythm of the water movement. Unless there is no current at all it is nearly impossible to create a stable shot.

By key-framing the shot every 5 frames or so it was possible to manually drag the little critter in the middle of the picture. After we exported the shot a first time as a mpeg file it was placed on the editor’s timeline a second time where the built-in stabilizer did an awesome job in smoothing the footage.

Filming location:

This short underwater videoclip has been filmed in Bali, Indonesia 🇮🇩

More on this topic:

For another insight of a crustacean living on black wire/whip coral please go to vlog post 12 or click this link https://www.beyondscuba.com/post/anker-s-whip-coral-shrimp

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Also you can capture the magic of the underwater world with our online Marine Wildlife Videography course!


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