The Biggest Arthropod

A large male Japanese spider crab.

The Biggest Arthropod: Japanese Spider Crab (Macrocheira kaempferi)

The Japanese spider crab that lives in the waters around Japan, on the southern coasts of the island of Honshu. It has the biggest leg span of any arthropod, reaching up to 12 feet long and weighing up to 40 pounds. Adults can be found at depths of up to 2,000 feet. In spite of its odd and ferocious appearance, this creature is known to have a gentle disposition. The spider crabs are considered a prized delicacy in many parts of Japan.  Although the crabs have not been evaluated by the IUCN, they are commonly fished for consumption purposes, lowering their populations in the last two decades. Harvesting of the crab is forbidden by the Japanese government during the spring, when crabs move to shallower water to reproduce.

Malacostraca / Arthropod


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