Photo/IllutrationA newfound species of hermit crab, Diogenes heteropsammicola, inhabits a living coral and walks around carrying it. (Provided by Momoko Igawa, a member of the research team at Kyoto University)

A new hermit crab species that inhabits a living coral instead of a seashell and walks around carrying its “house,” as both grow together, has been discovered in the waters off the Amami islands of Kagoshima Prefecture.

The creature, which has a vivid red head and whitish cheliped, measures about 1 centimeter. Since the coral it frequents is a pastel pink, the crab seemingly looks to be a walking piece of coral.

A research team at Kyoto University announced the discovery in the U.S.-based science journal Plos One on Sept. 20.

The hermit crab was found between 60 to 80 meters under the sea off Kakeromajima island, part of the island chain.

It was named Diogenes heteropsammicola, derived from both genera of the hermit crab and coral.

Most hermit crab species inhabit seashells and move into other ones when they outgrow their host.

However, the research team assumes as the newly discovered species grows, so does the coral. Therefore, the hermit crab does not need to find a larger host.

Meanwhile, the host coral also benefits, as being carried by a hermit crab prevents it from being buried into the sandy seabed.