Saturday, 9 August 2014


If you are ready for a weird creature meet the Japanese Spider Crab. This scary arthropod (the world’s biggest) has a leg span of almost 4 metres and can weigh over 20 kg. Lucky for us it eats dead fish and smaller crabs 300-800 metres below the surface.

The Japanese spider crab has 10 legs. The front two legs are longer and have evolved into enormous claws (chelipeds) with a 3 m reach. The rounded shell that forms its body may be 30 cm in width and up to 40 cm long. The compound eyes are made up of clusters of hundreds of simple eyes. The eyes are protected by two strong thorns that stick out between them.

They are only found on the Pacific side of Japan and are fished around Suruga Bay. They are considered a delicacy and overfishing is rapidly reducing their numbers.

They grow slowly and reach an age of perhaps 100 years. Luckily, there are new measures to protect this weird crab. The Japanese Spider Crab is Macrocheira kaempferi.

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