Carrying behavior in the deep-sea crab Paromola cuvieri (Northeast Atlantic)
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Observations of deep-sea homolids are becoming more common, but good-resolution imagery of these crabs in the natural environment is still scarce. Sixteen new in situ observations of Paromola cuvieri from various locations within the central and eastern groups of the Azores Archipelago (Northeast Atlantic) are described here based on video footage collected by two submersible vehicles. Crabs were found on coral gardens and deep-sea sponge aggregations, which are priority habitats of conservation importance under OSPARCOM. Diverse sessile megafauna were recorded (>59 taxa), including sponges, hydroids, corals, brachiopods, crinoids and oysters. Overall, 75% of the crabs were carrying live specimens of sessile invertebrates, mainly sponges and cold-water corals. Object selection shows to be a more complex process than previously thought, in which factors such as morphology, size and weight of objects and also palatability seem to be more important in the process of object selection than their availability.