spider crab

spider crab
any of various crabs of the family Majidae, having long, slender legs and a comparatively small, triangular body.
[1700-10]

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Any species of sluggish marine crab in the widely distributed family Majidae (or Maiidae).

Spider crabs have a beak-shaped head; thick, rounded body; and long, spindly legs. They use a mucuslike mouth secretion to fasten algae, sponges, and other organisms to the hairs, spines, and knobby projections covering the body. Most species are scavengers, especially of carrion. Their size varies greatly. The body of the European long-beaked spider crab (Macropodia rostrata) is less than 0.5 in. (1 cm) in diameter, whereas the Japanese giant crab (Macrocheira kaempferi), whose outstretched claws can measure 13 ft (4 m) from tip to tip, is perhaps the largest known arthropod.

Spider crab (Libinia)

Walter Dawn

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 any species of the decapod family Majidae (or Maiidae; class Crustacea). Spider crabs, which have thick, rather rounded bodies and long, spindly legs, are generally slow-moving and sluggish. Most are scavengers, especially of dead flesh.

      Majids, a widely distributed marine group, are fished commercially in temperate waters, such as in the North Pacific. Some are quite small; for example, the long-beaked spider crab (Macropodia rostrata) of European coastal waters has a body about 1 cm (less than 0.5 inch) in diameter. The largest spider crab, and perhaps the largest known arthropod, is the giant crab (q.v.) of the Pacific waters near Japan. The outstretched claws of this crab (Macrocheira kaempferi) measure more than 4 m (13 feet) from tip to tip.

      The head of the spider crab is rather beak-shaped; the body surface is generally covered with hairs, spines, and tubercles (knobby projections) that are frequently matted with algae, sponges, and other organisms. The crabs fasten a good deal of this material to themselves by means of a mucuslike secretion from the mouth.

      The kelp crab (Pugettia producta), a spider crab found among seaweed on the Pacific coast from Canada to Mexico, is about 1.25 cm (0.5 inch) wide and 2.5 cm (1 inch) long. It is green and red on top and green underneath.

      Parthenope investigatoris, a spider crab of the Indian Ocean, is camouflaged to resemble the coral on which it lives.

      Spider crabs of the genera Libinia, Hyas, Sternorhynchus, Pitho, and Lambrus are common on the Atlantic coast of North America. Pacific coast spider crabs include the genera Loxorhynchus, Pugettia, and Epialtus.

      Pisa, 1.3 to 6 cm (0.5 to 2.4 inches) long, is found in the Mediterranean Sea and in the eastern Atlantic Ocean. Maja squinado, which attains lengths of 18 cm (7 inches), is found in the Mediterranean Sea and along the southwest coast of Europe.

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Universalium. 2010.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Spider crab — Spider Spi der, n.[OE. spi[thorn]re, fr. AS. spinnan to spin; so named from spinning its web; cf. D. spin a spider, G. spinne, Sw. spindel. See {Spin}.] 1. (Zo[ o]l.) Any one of numerous species of arachnids comprising the order Araneina. Spiders …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • spider crab — n. any of a family (Majidae) of sea crabs with a pear shaped body and long, slender legs: they are often overgrown with algae, hydroids, etc …   English World dictionary

  • Spider crab — The term spider crab can refer to crab various species of crab in the family Majidae. See Crab spider for spiders of the Thomisidae family. *Japanese spider crab ( Macrocheira kaempferi ), the largest crab alive, found on the bottom of the… …   Wikipedia

  • spider crab — noun any of numerous crabs with very long legs and small triangular bodies • Hypernyms: ↑crab • Hyponyms: ↑European spider crab, ↑king crab, ↑Maja squinado, ↑giant crab, ↑Macrocheira kaempferi …   Useful english dictionary

  • spider crab — Macropod Mac ro*pod, n. [Macro + pod.] (Zo[ o]l.) Any one of a group of maioid crabs remarkable for the length of their legs; called also {spider crab}. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • spider crab — noun Any of various species of crab of the family Majidae with long legs …   Wiktionary

  • spider crab — (also known as macropod) crab having long legs and a triangular body …   English contemporary dictionary

  • spider crab — noun a crab with long, thin legs and a compact pear shaped body. [Macropodia and other genera.] …   English new terms dictionary

  • spider crab — spi′der crab n. ivt any of various crabs of the family Majidae, having long, slender legs and a comparatively small, triangular body …   From formal English to slang

  • spider crab — noun Date: circa 1710 any of a family (Majidae) of crabs with extremely long legs and nearly triangular bodies which they often cover with kelp …   New Collegiate Dictionary

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