Scientists have discovered a creepy new type of crab that disguises itself in hair scraped from other sea creatures.

Despite their menacing appearance, the “fluffy” beasts actually use it as a protective hat from predators.

They’re much like the common hermit crab but instead of shells they trim living sponges and create a coat out of it.

The fuzzy new species is part of the sponge crab family and has been named Lamarckdromia beagle.

It was discovered after washing up on a beach close to the city of Denmark, Western Australia.

“The extreme fluffiness was the give-away for us,” Andrew Hosie, from the Western Australian Museum told Live Science.

“The sponge crabs are often hairy, but it is more like felt or velvet, rather than this complete shaggy coat.”

The crabs have special back legs that allow them to hold the trimmings they collect above their heads.

These bits build up to create a tight-fitted shield over the crab.

This helps it avoid being spotted by predators like big fish, other crabs and even octopuses who would otherwise gobble them up for lunch.

The name is actually a nod to the ship that carried British naturalist Charles Darwin around the world.

The new species was given the name Lamarckdromia beagle.
Colin L Mclay/Scientific Figure
Hairy crab
The species’ new “coat” is a means of disguise for the timid creature.
Colin L Mclay/Scientific Figure

The vessel he travelled on to Australia was called HMS Beagle.

“This voyage is considered to have made a profound impact on Darwin, leading him on his way to formulating his theory of natural selection,” Hosie added.

The new species was revealed in a paper published in the Zootaxa journal, which also details 31 other species of sponge crab.

This story originally appeared on The Sun and has been reproduced here with permission.

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