The idea that crabs may be able to defend their host corals from predators has been around for some time. That said, there have always been lingering doubts; how could such a little crab—about the size of two thumbnails—chase off something as large and scary as a Crown-of-Thorns seastar? And not just one seastar, but many; because when there's an outbreak of seastars, they frequently come in huge numbers.
When the most recent Crown-of-Thorns population outbreak was underway on the island of Moorea, French Polynesia, an interesting pattern emerged—as many corals were consumed by these voracious predators, the ones that survived belonged to a single species, Pocillopora eydouxi. What made this coral different from all the rest was the presence of the largest species of Trapeziid crab, Trapezia flavopunctata. It was a shocking display of how little things can make a big difference, and how important symbioses are in reef systems.
Chris Meyer, Seabird McKeon, Hannah Stewart, and Matthew Johnson
Accessed from Barcode of Life Data Systems
MBMIA537-06 | 10249 | Trapezia flavopunctata | COI-5P
CTATATTTTATCTTTGGAGCTTGAGCTGGGATAGTAGGTACTTCATTAAGATTAATTATTCGAGCTGAGTTAGGA CAACCAGGAACTTTGATTGGAAATGATCAAATTTATAATGTAGTGGTTACAGCTCATGCTTTTGTTATAATTTTT TTTATAGTTATACCTATTATAATTGGAGGATTTGGTAACTGACTTGTTCCACTTATATTAGGAGCTCCAGATATA GCTTTTCCACGTATAAATAACATAAGTTTTTGACTTCTTCCCCCTTCTCTTACTTTACTTCTAATAAGAGGAATA GTAGAAAGGGGAGTTGGAACAGGATGAACCGTTTACCCTCCTTTAGCTGCTGCTATCGCCCATGCTGGTGCTTCT GTAGATATAGGAATTTTTTCTCTTCATTTGGCAGGTGTATCTTCAATCTTAGGAGCCGTTAATTTTTTAACCACT GTAATCAATATACGATCCTTCGGTATATCTATAGACCAAATACCACTTTTTGTTTGAGCAGTATTTATTACTGCT ATTTTATTACTTTTATCTTTACCAGTACTTGCAGGAGCCATTACTATACTTCTTACTGACCGTAATCTAAATACA TCTTTTTTCGATCCTGCAGGAGGTGGAGACCCTATTCTTTATCAACA