lizbrownlee – poet

Poems, animal info, extraordinary women, my books!

P is for Pom Pom Cheerleading Crab

Oh! This little 2 inch crab is so beautiful, and so clever.

This is a pom pom or cheerleading crab, endemic to Hawaii, in a photo by Hechtonicus:

1024px-Xanthidae_-_Lybia_tessellata

Pom pom crabs are tiny, about 2 inches wide, and they are inedible. They are not heavily armoured crabs – their carapaces aren’t strong, their legs are delicate.

They have evolved another way to defend themselves – if they are threatened they wave their front legs in the air – front legs which are grasping two poisonous-tentacled anemones.

Yes – that’s right, they live in a symbiotic threesome relationship with two anemones. The anemones can reproduce asexually by being pulled apart – which is what the crab does if it loses one of them. It pulls the other one in two, and soon they have both grown into full-sized anemones armed for deployment.

Both species can live without the other, so presumably the anemone gains something from the partnership as well – the crab uses the anemones as a type of fishing net as well as a weapon, trailing them in the seabed to pick up food, and eating it off the tentacles. Perhaps there is enough of this food left over, which also helps the anemone to survive.

So – here is my pom pom cheerleading crab chant:

.

Pom Pom (Cheerleading) Crab

.

AL-OHA,

AL-OHA,

Hawaiian crabs,

our claws are stars,

.

We’re the kings,

in boxing rings,

pom pom crabs

with fists of stings,

.

Anemones,

anemones,

will deter

our enemies,

.

We will win,

it’s very clear,

give us pom pom

crabs a cheer!

.

© Liz Brownlee

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If you would like to blog hop to another A-Z Challenge Blog, please click on the link from the logo in the right-hand column!

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Information from:

Wikipedia.

Photo from Wikipedia by Hectonichus by Creative Commons License.

Prose and Poem © Liz Brownlee, all rights reserved not to be used in any manner whatsoever without the permission of the author.

 

 

49 Comments

  1. Fascinating. Utterly fascinating. Who knew? Thank you, Liz. I learned something new and thought provoking today.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks, Samantha! And now I can spell Scheherazade…

      Like

  2. They are so cute though not quite as cute as your cheer.

    Susan Says

    Like

  3. What a beautifully colourful and delicate little crab – I never knew such a thing existed, and certainly not with a name like that. Interesting and informative facts too, thanks Liz 🙂

    Like

    • Hey there, Eunice! Thank you, it is rather fun!

      Like

  4. What a beautiful little creature, thank you for teaching me something new!

    Like

    • Hello, Pascale! I just love the idea of this delicate little thing picking its way through the ocean floor, stopping to threaten bullies with two evil pom-poms!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You come up with the most awesome critters, Liz!

    Like

    • Thanks Anne, but to be honest, everything I read about is extraordinary – I found lots of interesting creatures, but often they are so rare that they’ve only been seen a handful of times by scientists and no photograph exists. One rule for the blog is that there has to be a photo or I have to be able to draw it – and often, without seeing it, that is impossible.

      Like

  6. I’m left speechless…these crabs are amazing and beautiful. I love the fact that nature can continually astound me! They really do look like pom poms!

    Like

    • Yes I haven’t seen any video but I like to think they kick their legs up… maybe that’s an anthropomorphism too far…

      Like

  7. Very interesting. Never did like crabs, but that cheer is wonderful! Yeah! Doing the wave! 🙂

    Like

    • Thank you Yolanda… not only did I have to research crabs and anemones, but also how to lead a cheer!

      Like

  8. ddeepa

    It does look cute, must admit though I’ve never really ventured close 🙂

    Like

    • Hello Deepa! Do they live where you live? I think it would be unwise to venture close to this crab, actually!

      Like

  9. What a wonderfully named and fascinating creature. Definitely “worth a cheer”!

    Like

    • Hello Al! Thank you! I think so too. Sadly people collect them to go in tanks.

      Liked by 1 person

      • That’s such a shame… I think people just don’t appreciate the effects of their actions, especially when those actions (ie keeping a crab in a tank) seem small

        Like

  10. Nature will never cease to surprising me. It is always so awesome it’s nearly unbelievable.

    @JazzFeathers
    The Old Shelter – Jazz Age Jazz

    Like

    • It is, isn’t it? Thank goodness there’s a photo!

      Like

  11. An apt name for an amazing creature, Liz and your poem is spot on. Thanks for sharing.

    Like

  12. I’ve seen some fabulous crabs – but these have to be added to my wishlist! They are just glorious – this might be your best post yet in this challenge, Liz.

    Susan A Eames from
    Travel, Fiction and Photos

    Like

    • Really? Thank you! I hope you will suitably covered head to toe when you meet one!

      Like

  13. Haha! I love this! Such a pretty little creature, and very clever too! Nature fascinates me… and the chant gave me a chuckle 🙂
    I also have a Pom pom theme on the MopDog today 🙂

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    The Multicolored Diary
    MopDog

    Like

    • Hello, Tarka! Thank you, glad it made you smile.

      Like

  14. So interesting and the poem is cute, clever, and delightful

    Like

  15. Nature is so clever and so are your poems. Love this beautiful little creature from afar.

    Like

    • You are kind, Lori. Now is my fifth year, but there is a never ending supply of wonder!

      Like

  16. OK why isn’t this creature showcased in Disney somewhere? I love this crab and the symbiotic relationship with this pretty anemone. So colourful and your poem is just perfect:)

    Like

    • Smiling here, Birgit – I can imagine it in a movie! It would have to be set near Hawaii though…!

      Like

  17. I enjoyed learning about octopuses and now about this pom pom crab. You have such interesting and educational posts!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Never invite a science teacher, we always got more to add. This is commensalism. The crab probably benefits in protection from predation. The anemone may not benefit. Organisms don’t always have to benefit or one may benefit more than the other. For example humans and dogs, dogs benefited more but both species needed each other to flourish. http://www.dictionary.com/browse/commensalism

    Liked by 1 person

    • There’s a new word! I think the dogs example might be a moot point, though – we live longer with a dog, receive bacteria that are helpful for allergies, get exercise we probably wouldn’t take, receive unquestioning love, and also protection… and warmth on cold evenings! (I have an assistance dog, who has also saved my life on several occasions). 🙂

      Like

  19. That’s really wild it’s two other creatures living on their claws!
    And you’re a science fiction and Star Trek fan – too cool, Liz.

    Like

    • Thanks, Alex, don’t say that too loud, I’ll lose all credibility! Live long and prosper!

      Like

  20. I think I have heard of this crab before! Such an interesting fellow!
    @AllysePanaro from
    The Frog Lady

    Like

  21. I’ve never heard of this crab before but it’s kind of pretty. It’s amazing how many creatures are in the oceans and we hardly know anything about a lot of them.
    Good luck with the rest of the A-Z Challenge – the end is in sight!
    I’m writing about my favourite fictional characters for the A-Z Challenge over on ElenaSquareEyes.

    Like

    • He’s gorgeous, isn’t he, such a fabulous pattern.

      Like

  22. Aloha back! Happy A-Zing.

    Like

  23. greyzoned/angelsbark

    Well these little guys are pretty and impressive.

    Michele at Angels Bark

    Like

  24. Wow! So spectacular!
    Jemima Pett

    Like

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