I have something of a fascination with rare and bizzare creatures, particularly if they are found in the water. The oceans, rivers and lakes of the world have always fascinated me because of the wondrous creatures that live within them. I was recently introduced to one of the more interesting denizens of the ocean through an internet article and I thought it would be a good topic for an article. In this article we will be discussing Fairy Crabs and their place in the origins debate.
Fairy crabs are a fairly recent discovery for biologists. Found largely in the far eastern waters of the Pacific off Australia, Indonesia, Japan and the Philippines, Fairy crabs have unique, specialized roles on the reefs in which they live. Ironically, fairy crabs are not actually crabs at all. Instead, they are what is termed squat lobsters, a term that is also misleading as squat lobsters are not lobsters. Instead, they are relatives of hermit crabs. The confusion in common names is why science uses scientific names, composed of Latin and Greek. The scientific name for the fairy crab is Lauriea siagiani.
Since they are related to hermit crabs, it would be reasonable to expect squat lobsters to carry the trademark shells on their backs. However, this is not the case. Squat lobsters simply squeeze their vulnerable rear parts into inaccessible crevices and project their large claws when they feel threatened. However, like hermit crabs, they are inhabitants of the sea floor, generally speaking. The fairy crab lives in a special species of sponge, called the barrel sponge. It uses the sponge as a refuge from predators. The sponge does not gain any known benefit from the arrangement, but is not seemingly harmed either.
Fairy crabs you may have noticed from the image above that fairy crabs may have been more aptly named the “hairy crab” due to the hair like projections on its legs and torso. These little hairs are not without purpose. The fairy crab sits atop the barrel sponge with its body as far out into the current as it can reach. The little hairs serve as a filter, trapping microscopic plankton and other detritus that the crab will then later eat, using the few legs not covered in hair. This remarkable method of feeding essentially lets the fairy crab wait for the food to come to it.
Fairy crabs come in a rainbow array of colors. Each color set matches, or closely resembles the sponge it is found on, providing the fairy crab with excellent camouflage. This is either due to the crab being able to change color to match its background, or knowing what color sponge they need to go to, the literature is not clear on that point. As an added protection against predators, the fairy crab instinctively curls its rear portion beneath the rest of its body. This protects the most vulnerable section of the creature from the gnawing mouths of fish. It also gives the fairy crab its squat lobster common name.
Fairy crabs are of interest to origins because they cry out for a designer. How does evolution explain their commensal symbiotic relationship with barrel sponges? How do fairy crabs know to go to a sponge that matches their color? How did evolution know to equip them with the little hairs they use to catch their meals? Even if evolution were to somehow know that the fairy crab would need the little hair-like projections, why does the fairy crab use them? Instinctual behavior doesn’t work because the original behavior had to be learned, and would only have remained learned by the individual that learned it. The only way instinct works is if is placed in the brain by an outside designer. Evolution must then find another explanation for the fairy crab somehow knowing that it needs to filter the water through its hair to eat.
The obvious, and really sole answer to the above listed questions is that the fairy crab was designed. Design accounts for their relationship with the barrel sponge, and for why they match up with the sponge they are found on. Either they somehow know their own color and thus what sponge to look for, or they are able to change colors to match. The fact that the crab knows how to use its hair like projections to feed itself is also evidence for design. However, evolutionists do not believe the evidence, because in their hearts they have rejected God, therefore no amount of evidence will convince them He exists.