An underwater photographer has stumbled upon a new species of hermit crab with legs and pincers striped like candy canes.

Ellen Muller captured photos and video of the tiny creature at dive sites in the National Marine Park off the southern Caribbean island of Bonaire. Just a few millimetres wide, the animal is the subject of a new report in the journal ZooKeys. 

The report is authored by the Smithsonian’s Rafael Lemaitre, a hermit crab expert who documented the new species.

The red-and-white colour pattern on the legs and pincers of the crab reminded both Lemaitre and Muller of a traditional candy cane, prompting them to give it the common name “candy-striped hermit crab.”

Its scientific name is Pylopaguropsis mollymullerae, after diver Muller’s young granddaughter, Molly Muller.