A surprise encounter with a hairy crab

News story
Our scientists encountered a furry friend on the beach at Pinnaroo Point, but not the kind you would expect.
close up of man's hand holding hairy crab

Technical Officers Marcus Newman and Blaine Hodgson from the Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development found the unusual crustacean and took some photos to help identify it before releasing it back into the water.

Pilumnus pulcher is a hairy crab species found in northern Australia and has not been seen this far along the WA coast before.

Originally collected from the Torres Strait by crustacean taxonomist Edward Miers in 1884, the hairy crab’s scientific name is derived from the Latin word Pulcher which means ‘beautiful’, and Pilumnus who was a minor Roman god.

It is believed the species migrated down the south coast due to increasing marine heatwaves and general tropicalisation of the South West.

The WA fishing community are encouraged to log and map marine species found outside their usual range using the Redmap website.

Page reviewed 9 November 2021