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Georgia-Pacific Cold Water Quest

Giant Japanese spider crab

Giant Japanese spider crab

(Macrocheira kaempferi)

The giant Japanese spider crab is found on the seafloor of the Pacific Ocean near Japan. It occurs at depths of 150 to 1000 feet where it is very dark and cold. This crab is primarily a scavenger, consuming dead animal and plant material. However, it will also pry open the shells of mollusks with its small, pointed claws.

When its legs are spread out, an adult giant Japanese spider crab can measure 12 feet across and its body can grow to be 15 inches wide. An animal this size will weigh as much as 40 lbs.

Be sure to spend some time closely examining the giant Japanese spider crab in the Cold Water Quest gallery.

Fun Facts

  • The giant Japanese spider crab is thought to live as long as 100 years.
  • It is the largest living arthropod (i.e., the group of animals that includes crabs, shrimp, insects and spiders)
  • The female crab carries the fertilized eggs attached to her abdomen until they hatch into tiny larvae.
  • This crab is not widely exploited commercially because of difficulties capturing it at the depths where it is found.
  • After molting, the crab will consume its former shell in order to recover important nutrients.
  • Download full fact sheet

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