The giant Japanese spider crab is named Takaashigani in Japanese, which means “tall-footed crab.” It has the largest leg span of any other arthropod, nearly 12 feet from claw to claw, while the crab’s body can grow to 16 inches. It can weigh as much as 44 pounds.
The Japanese spider crab is orange with white spots that run along its legs. It has a gentle disposition that belies its fierce appearance. It is a scavenger, feeding on shellfish, animal carcasses and plant matter that it finds in the waters surrounding Japan. It prefers to live in vents and holes in the deeper parts of the ocean.
The Japanese spider crab's strong exoskeleton helps protect it from predators such as octopi. It also uses camouflage, by adorning its shell with sponges and other animals that conceal it and help it to blend into the rocky ocean floor. As it grows, it sheds its exoskeleton and a new, softer one appears. The Japanese spider crab has a long lifespan of about 50 to 100 years.