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Commonly Asked Questions

Appears in Georgia Aquarium's:
  • Spider Crabs Habitat (Cold Water Quest)

Range / Habitat

  • Occurs in the Pacific Ocean around Japan.
  • Found on the seabed, often inhabiting vents and holes on the ocean floor at depths of 160 to 2,000 feet (50-600 m).

Physical Characteristics

  • Japanese spider crab gets its name from its resemblance to a spider. It has a rounded body covered with stubby projections and long slim legs.
  • Maximum size of up to 12 feet (3.7 m) across.
  • Body will grow to about 15 inches (37 cm) wide and the animal can weigh up to 44 lbs. (20 kg).
  • Male is larger than the female and has larger claws.

Diet / Feeding

  • An omnivore. Diet consists of both plant matter and animals.
  • Sometimes acts as a scavenger, consuming dead animals.
  • Some are known to scrape the bottom of the ocean floor for plants and algae, while others pry open the shells of mollusks.

Reproduction / Growth

  • Female carries fertilized eggs attached to her abdominal appendages until they hatch into tiny planktonic larvae.
  • Larval stage looks nothing like the adult. It is small and transparent with a round, legless body and usually drifts as plankton at the surface of the ocean.

Conservation Status

  • "Not Evaluated" on the IUCN Red List.

Additional Information

  • One of the largest known arthropods (i.e., the group of animals that includes crabs, shrimp, insects, spiders and horseshoe crabs).
  • It is difficult for fishermen to catch the giant Japanese spider crab because of the depth at which it is found, so the species is not widely exploited commercially. However, it is considered a rare delicacy in Asia.
  • Member of the Majidae family, which is known as “decorator crabs." This group of crabs will pick up small anemones, pieces of sponge or other benthic animals and cement them to the top of the carapace (shell). This provides the crab with natural camouflage that protects it from predators.

Sources

www.animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu