5 Lesser-Known Facts About the Japanese Spider Crab

The Japanese Spider Crab, known scientifically as Macrocheira kaempferi, is a fascinating creature that inhabits the waters around Japan. While it is well-known for its impressive size and distinctive appearance, there are several lesser-known facts about this creature that make it even more intriguing.

Long Lifespan: The Japanese Spider Crab is known for its remarkably long lifespan. While most crabs have a lifespan of 3-4 years, these crabs can live for much longer. They have been known to live for up to 100 years, making them one of the longest-living arthropods.

Gentle Giants: Despite their intimidating appearance, Japanese Spider Crabs are known to be relatively gentle creatures. They are primarily scavengers, feeding on dead animals and plants that they find on the ocean floor. They are also known to be quite shy, often hiding in crevices or burying themselves in the sand to avoid predators.

Impressive Size: Japanese Spider Crabs are the largest arthropods in the world, with a leg span that can reach up to 12 feet and a weight of up to 44 pounds. Their size is a result of a phenomenon known as “deep-sea gigantism,” which causes deep-sea creatures to grow much larger than their shallow-water counterparts.

Molting Process: Like other arthropods, Japanese Spider Crabs must molt in order to grow. However, unlike most crabs, which molt regularly throughout their lives, Japanese Spider Crabs molt less frequently as they age. In fact, adult crabs may only molt once every few years.

Cultural Significance: In Japanese culture, the Japanese Spider Crab holds a special significance. It is often featured in art and literature, symbolizing longevity and perseverance. It is also considered a delicacy in Japanese cuisine, with its meat prized for its sweet taste and tender texture.

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