09 March 2015

Ocean Giants: Japanese Spider Crab

What crawls, has 8 legs and can be scary and creepy?

Yes, that's correct. 

A spider. 

But did you know that there are spiders at the bottom of the sea? They look like spiders but they're actually crabs.

The largest of these is the Japanese spider crab, Macrocheira kaempferi. It is endemic to southern Japan, found at depths between 50 to 400 m [1], hence the name; although its distribution has extended to eastern Taiwan [2]. The largest known specimen on display at the Scheveningen Sea Life Center in the Netherlands has a legspan of 3.7 m and weighs 13.6 kg [3].

Little is known on the biology of this species. Thus, if you have other information on them, you can e-mail us at sealifebase@fin.ph or come be a collaborator.

[1] Okamoto K (1993) Influence of temperature on survival and growth of larvae of the giant spider crab Macrocheira kaempferi (Crustacea, Decapoda, Majidae). Nippon Suisan Gakkaishi 59(3):419-424.
[2] Huang JH, Yu H, Takeda M (1990) Occurrence of the giant spider crab, Macrocheira kaempferi (Temmink, 1836) (Crustacea, Decapoda, Majidae) in Taiwan. Bulletin of the Institute of Zoology, Academia Sinica 29(3):207-212.
[3] McClain CR, Balk MA, Benfield MC, Branch TA, Chen C, Cosgrove J, Dove ADM, Gaskins LC, Helm RR, Hochberg FG, Lee FB, Marshall A, McMurray SE, Schanche C, Stone SN, Thaler AD (2015) Sizing ocean giants: patterns of intraspecific size variation in marine megafaunaPeerJ 3:e715.

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