• Spider Crab Crawl

    March 19, 2008

    The spider crab looks HUGE! And then he goes into a ninja pose.


    Spider crabs, from the family Majidae, are also called majid crabs. There are 900 species of majid crab, and some really are huge– the largest species of crab in the world is the Japanese spider crab, which can weigh up to 40 pounds and have a 12 foot leg span. The common or European spider crab, Maja squinado, is fished commercially in the Atlantic. We’ve never eaten spider crab, but hear that it’s delicious. But is it better tasting than Dungeness?

    The crab in the video is a Pugettia producta, identifiable by its smooth carapace and 2 pronged rostrum. It sometimes is invaded by a parasitic barnacle, Heterosaccus californicus, which makes the crab sluggish and can cause male crab to become hermaphrodites. When a parasitized crab molts, the barnacle’s reproductive sack pushes out through the crab’s abdomen, killing the crab. You may have seen this in a movie somewhere. We’ll keep our eyes out for a sluggish, hermaphroditic crab with a barnacle egg sack emerging from his abdomen, but we’ll also keep our distance.

    { 3 comments… read them below or add one }

    Michelle March 24, 2008 at 10:56 am

    LOVE the ninja. I’d hate to meet that guy down a dark alley.


    Skip Clark August 25, 2008 at 5:05 pm

    I am just curious as to when the spider crab was first discovered. Skip Clark


    Oyster Fan August 26, 2008 at 9:15 am

    Hi Skip,
    From what I can tell, the spider crab featured in that post (also called the northern kelp crab) was named in 1839 by J.W. Randall. (Randall named at least 20 other species, do a search for “taxon author J.W. Randall” if you’re interested in learning more). But there are so many different kinds of spider crab… which one are you interested in? I’ve read that the Japanese spider crab (the ones that weigh up to 40 pounds) were first discovered crawling through a jungle…. not sure if they’d be more terrifying on land or in the sea.
    Hope this helps!


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