April 16, 2014

Wildlife Wednesday: The Japanese Spider Crab

 Just when I thought the water was my refuge against spiders…
Photo Credit: Google Images

Photo Credit: Google Images

Photo Credit: Google Images

Japanese spider crabs are usually found off the southern coasts of the Japanese island of Honshū, from Tokyo Bay to Kagoshima Prefecture. The crabs can inhabit depths of 150- 800 meters, but they usually stay at a depth of about 200m.

Their diet consists of shellfish and animal carcasses, algae, plants, and mollusks, using its gigantic pincer to catch and tear its food. This creepy crab can live up to 100 years. The Sipder Crab is the biggest arthropod in the world. These Giant Japanese spider crabs can grow up to 3.8 meters long when measured from claw to claw. The size of their body is about (35 to 40) cm. They can weigh up to 20kg. Their body is orange and has white spots on their thin legs. Even the giant spider crabs need protection from the larger sea animals and hence they attach sponges and other such smaller animals to their shells for camouflaging. The Japanese spider crab has eight legs and two arms for feeding. Their legs are remarkably thin compared to the rest of its body. They have two thorns that stick out between their eyes, which are situated on the front.
Photo Credit: Google Images

Photo Credit: Google Images

They reproduce in the spring, when they lay their eggs at a depth of around 50 meters. These crabs have separate sexes, similar to most of the crustaceans. Male crabs are generally larger than the females and they have bigger claws. The males transfer the spermatophore (sac of sperm) into the female crab during mating. The female crabs carry the egg sac in their abdominal appendages. They create cement like material to secure it to their abdomens. The newborn crabs look totally dissimilar to their parents. They bear translucent body with no legs. They molt their skin several times until they eventually mature. Once that happens they stop molting and keep their permanent skin.

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