We favor night dives as it is possible to approach aquatic creatures that otherwise do not give a chance for a second stare. It is amazing how colorful aquatic life rises from the dark water, illuminated by the torchlight. Once you go night diving you never go back!
But no matter how impressive a sleeping red snapper or a preying cuttlefish are; nowadays we have eyes (and memory space in our cameras) for small creatures, nudibranches, critters and tiny crustaceans.
We might be spending most of the dive scanning every inch on the bottom until surprised by a squid passing like a shooting star or have a face to face encounter with a moray eel showing some razor sharp teeth, but sometimes the search pays back.
It was just last time that we had a rare sighting of two impressively colored Atlanto-Mediterranean Spider Crabs (Herbstia condyliata), well, having an …intercourse!
A bit further another one was looking for a soul mate! This crab is like a miniature Spider crab but is more colorfully decorated. And by far more rare! Abundant mostly in Western Mediterranean but not that common in the East, this wasn’t the only time seeing it but the first we captured it in a photo.
At the time we thought it couldn’t get any better, however after a while on our way back we spotted another tiny crustacean. We photographed it thinking that it’s another small Atlanto-Mediterranean Spider Crab.
When got a better look on the picture, we discovered that it was a totally different species! Some research revealed that we had come across an Erythrean Spider Crab (Myra subgranulata).
This small guy is a Lessepsian migrant species that first appeared in the far southeastern end of the Aegean Sea (Rhodes island) in 2004, but we could find no reference about observation in the Ionian Sea. Probably we are not the first observing it but still this is an extremely rare finding indeed!!
Not to mention this night dive seemed like a proper gathering of Atlantic and Indo-Pacific cousins to our excitement!