Rare hermit crab found at Falmouth's Castle Beach

image copyrightMatt Slater
image captionCornwall Wildlife Trust now wants to find a common name for the crab

A rare type of hermit crab has been rediscovered at a beach in Falmouth after a 30 year absence.

The tiny crab, known only as clibanarius erythropus, has not been recorded in Cornish waters since 1985.

It is a species found in warmer waters but can be found in the channel islands and along the French coast, according to Cornwall Wildlife Trust.

The find at Castle Beach was made by an amateur photographer who was taking part in a survey run by the trust.

image copyrightMatt Slater
image captionThe tiny hermit crab is 6mm long

Local marine experts said the ten-legged crustacean was occasionally found on the south coast of Cornwall but since the Torrey Canyon oil spill in 1967 it had "virtually disappeared" from Cornish shores.

They believe the discovery shows Cornwall's marine life may now have fully recovered from the environmental disaster.

Clibanarius erythropus is from the Latin meaning soldier, clad in mail with red legs.

Finding the tiny crab was "the icing on the cake" during a fruitful rockpooling survey, Matt Slater, marine awareness officer for Cornwall Wildlife Trust, said.

"Spectacularly low tides and stunning weather provided a unique view of Cornwall's fabulous coastline exposing sections of the shore which you would normally only see with a snorkel.

"We were all really excited by the find. Its scientific name is a bit of a mouthful so if anyone can think of a good name for the crab we would appreciate suggestions."

image copyrightMatt Slater
image captionSeveral types of crab and beach life were found during the rockpooling survey

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