Japanese Spider Crab

Japanese Spider Crab (Macrocheira kaemferi) as seen in our Coastal Waters exhibit.

As the name may suggest, the Japanese Spider Crab is not a native to Oregon coastal waters but rather lives at the western end of the Pacific Ocean. The crab was introduced to the Aquarium several years ago during a temporary exhibit and quickly became a favorite with our visitors and staff.

Stunning crustaceans in both color and size, the carapace of the Spider Crab can measure up to 15 inches (38 cm) across and they can weigh as much as forty-four pounds. From the tip of one outstretched claw to another, this animal can measure 13 feet across (3.96 m) – which often causes the surprised visitor to exclaim upon seeing them: “Look at the size of those crabs!”

These animals attach sponges and similar animals to their shells to ward off predators, such as octopuses. They use their powerful claws to crush shellfish and strip animal carcasses. Spider crabs are also an extremely long-lived species, with some known to be in excess of one hundred years old.


Range & Habitat

Spider crabs live along the ocean bottom from 150 to 600 feet in depth. They are primarily found off the coast of Japan.


Conservation Status

Common.

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