Japanese Spider Crab
The largest crab in the world is the giant Japanese Spider Crab. This giant crab can be found In Suruga Bay off of the coast of Japan. This species of marine crab named the Japanese Spider Crab that has the largest leg span of any arthropod known to exist.
Its body can measure up to 16 inches across, and up to 12 feet from claw to claw, with the whole crab weighing up to 40 pounds.Imposing in size, and ferocious in appearance, the crab has been reported to have a gentle disposition. With an orange body, and white spots on its legs the Japanese spider crab may appear similar to other crabs, but it differs in a few notable ways.
In the male crab, the first pleopods, also known as swimming legs are unusually twisted and its larvae have been described as primitive. The male Japanese Spider Crab can easily be distinguished from its female counterpart due to having have much longer chelipeds. The crab can be found in depths from 50 feet up to 2000ft feeding on shellfish and animal carcasses and may live up to 100 years.
They are primarily found in Suruga Bay, and while only occasionally collected for food, their numbers are dwindling, forcing fishermen into deeper waters to find them.
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As land dwelling mammals, we humans know that the oceans are deep, dark, and full of terrifying creatures. One of the most frightening creatures around is the Giant Spider Crab, also known as the Japanese Spider.
While these bad boys aren't are huge and scary as some crabs out there, they are still pretty darn creepy. Here are 10 reasons why the Giant Spider Crab is most terrifying crustacean of the deep.
This is the first thing you'll notice about the Giant Spider Crab (it's also in the name). These things can have a leg span up to 12 feet, and can weigh up to 42 pounds. They could easily eat a human child if they wanted to.
They dwell in the depths.
Giant Spider Crabs call the deep, dark depths of the ocean their homes. Their normal habitat is between depths of 490 and 980 feet or more. This means they're tough and very well adapted to the harsh ocean environment.
Its claws can cause some serious damage.
When Giant Spider Crabs were discovered in 1836, Coenraad Jacob Temminck noted that they were known for the serious injures they can cause with their strong claws. Not to mention they have a huge reach.
They're hard to catch.
They're notoriously hard to catch because they dwell at such dark depths. There is a single fishery in Japan that harvests the crab year round, except during mating season.
They taste delicious.
Apparently in parts of Japan, the Giant Spider Crab is eaten and considered a delicacy. I'm still not sure I could enjoy eating one of these. I wonder if they look any less terrifying once they're cooked.
Long Life Cycle.
This one might be the most freaky fact of all. These Giant Spider Crabs are thought to live to 100 years old. Compared to humans, they're pretty much immortal. Great.
They'll eat pretty much anything.
At the bottom of the ocean, Giant Spider Crabs pretty much eat anything smaller than they are. This includes fish, algae, and other plants. They're also known to be good scavengers.
They look like they're right out of a horror film.
If you haven't caught on by now, these Giant Spider Crabs are named as such because they look like spiders. I'm not sure I could think of anything more terrifying than a giant, underwater spider with claws.
They're smarter than they look.
In the wild, Giant Spider Crabs are fair game for even bigger octopi (which is a terrifying article for another day). So as a way of protecting themselves from these predators, they're known to decorate their shells with sponges and other animals in order to blend in with their surroundings.
They're friendly (sort of).
According to people who worked with/experienced the Giant Spider Crab firsthand, they're unusually gentle creatures. However, I'm not sure I believe them. Maybe it's some sort of evil, crab plot for world domination.
If you're not convinced that the Giant Spider Crab is terrifying, check out a couple of videos of them in action.
Here's a video of one Giant Spider Crab attacking a diver. They don't seem so gentle to me. Yikes.
I am now afraid of Giant Spider Crabs, and you should be, too. Though I can imagine that they probably taste really good.
The Japanese spider crab Macrocheira kaempferi is mostly limited to the Pacific side of the Japanese islands, Konshu and Kyushu, usually at a latitude between 30 and 40 degrees North. They are found most often in the Sagami, Suruga, and Tosa bays, as well as off the coast of the Kii peninsula. However, the crab has been found as far south as Su-ao, in Eastern Taiwan. This is most likely a one time event; it is possible a fishing trawler or extreme weather may have carried this individual much further south than its home range.
The giant spider crab is the largest known species of crab and may live up to 100 years. The Japanese name for this species is taka-ashi-gani literally translating to “tall legs crab.” Their armored exoskeletons help protect them from larger predators such as octopi, but giant spider crabs also use camouflage. The crab's bumpy carapace blends into the rocky ocean floor. To further the illusion, a spider crab will adorn its shell with sponges and other animals.
The spider crabs are considered a prized delicacy in many parts of Japan. They are caught using small trawling nets. Harvesting of the crab is forbidden during the spring, when crabs move to shallower water to reproduce. Populations of this species of crab have diminished over recent years and there are many efforts to protect them.
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