I just had some of the best seafood I have enjoyed in years, but in two cases I ran into tiny pea crabs in some of my oysters, first time both in steamed and raw oysters and the second time, one was in the raw oysters. I ate the steamed pea crabs and they were pretty good, didn't have the courage to eat the still living, writhing ones in the raw oysters. The oysters themselves seemed pretty good and both the waiter and the people next to me said it was normal, so I wolfed down little steamed crabs the size of peas. Tasty but odd.
Back to my original question, though. Is this normal? The people I talked to said that the crabs were like wrasse fish, they cleaned the gills of the oysters and made them even cleaner. Were they making a virtue out of necessity, i.e. their oysters have pea crabs so they try to make it sound like it is not only normal but a good thing. So are they symbionts or parasites? And does it matter?
Some of you probably know where I ran into these little fellas, but I want to post it here on this board where people don't have their regional pride wrapped up in the issue.