Japanese Giant Spider Crab
This crab can have a leg-span of almost four metres.
A crab is an arthropod, which is an animal without a backbone, an external skeleton and jointed limbs. The front two limbs are adapted into pincers.
The Japanese Giant Spider Crab lives in the sea, close to Japan.
The Japanese Giant Spider Crab is an omnivore, eating shellfish and algae.
More about the Japanese Giant Spider Crab
The Japanese Giant Spider Crab lives in the Pacific Ocean around Japan in waters 50-300 metres deep.
The Japanese Giant Spider Crab is thought to live to up to 100 years old. Its home is on the ocean floor where it feeds on algae, molluscs, other crustaceans and small fish. These crabs will also scavenge dead animals when they find them.
The Japanese Giant Spider Crab has an external (or exo) skeleton, which it has to shed in order to grow. Beneath the old exoskeleton is a new soft skeleton is grown. When the old skeleton is shed the new one is expanded by pumping in sea water before it hardens. This then protects the animal and gives it room to continue to grow inside.
The Japanese Giant Spider Crab is a decapod crustacean, which means it has 10 legs. The front two legs are adapted into pincers known as ‘chelipeds’. The chelipeds are used to capture prey, to defend the animal, and may also be used for sexual signalling.
The scientific name, or two-part or Latin binomial, for the Japanese Giant Spider Crab is Macrocheira kaempferi.
Japanese Giant Spider Crabs are hunted using trawl nets, and the meat is steamed and salted. Japanese Giant Spider Crabs are protected during the spring when they come into shallow water to lay their eggs, but their numbers may be declining due to over fishing.
Want to know more?
To find out more about the Japanese Giant Spider Crab, download the Resources to your right.
This Japanese Giant Spider Crab is part of the collections held in store by the Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery in Birmingham. Use the ‘Birmingham City Council’ web link below to find out more about the Birmingham Collections.
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