Carapace surface architectures facilitate camouflage of the decorator crab Tiarinia cornigera

Immanuel Sanka, Eko Suyono, Adolfo Rivero-Muller, Parvez Alam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This paper elucidates the unique setal morphology of the decorator crab Tiarinia cornigera, and further presents evidence to that setal morphology promotes micro-organism nucleation and adhesion. The carapace of this crab is covered by clusters of setae, each comprising a hollow acicular stem that is enveloped by a haystack-like structure. Using computational fluid dynamics, we find that these setae are responsible for manipulating water flow over the carapace surface. Micro-organisms in the sea water, nest in areas of flow stagnation and as a result, nucleate to and biofoul the setae by means of chemical adhesion. Attached micro-organisms secrete extracellular polymeric substances, which we deduce must also provide an additional element of chemical adhesion to mechanically interlocked mesoscopic and macroscopic biomatter. By coupling physical and chemical methods for adhesion, T. cornigera is able to hierarchically decorate its carapace.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)52-59
JournalActa Biomaterialia
Early online date13 May 2016
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2016


Dive into the research topics of 'Carapace surface architectures facilitate camouflage of the decorator crab Tiarinia cornigera'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this