Japanese spider crab

Japanese spider crab ( Macrocheira kaempferi ) in the Oceanographic Museum in Stralsund

The Japanese spider crab ( Macrocheira kaempferi ) is the largest living cancer and the largest living arthropod.


The Japanese Spider Crab has a mass 16 to 20 kg. Your body has a diameter of about 37 centimeters from the top of one leg to the other, it measures in the extended position up to 3.7 meters. The body is round and covered with blunt outgrowths, the legs are extremely long and thin.


Japanese spider crabs are found exclusively in the Pacific to Japan, where she served as " Takaashigani " (Japanese高 脚, " long-legged crab "蟹) are known. There they live at depths between 300 and 400 meters, at temperatures between 11 ° C and 14 ° C. During the spawning season the giant crabs migrate into shallower water.

Reproduction and development

Male animals are larger than the female and have larger tongs. The sperm carrying the male spermatophores in with him, during mating, it is provided by the gonopods. The fertilized eggs, the female carries on their body to where they are held in place by an adhesive from the setae.

The newly hatched zoea are small, transparent, round, legless organisms that float on the sea surface. After several molts, the limbs begin to form and the body formed of itself, this continues during the moults until the animals are fully grown.

Way of life

Japanese spider crabs walk on her long legs in search of food very slowly over the seabed.


They are omnivorous, eating carrion, plants ( which they scrape from the seabed ) or other animals such as mollusks, whose shells open in order to get to the meat. In order to camouflage themselves from predators (eg squid ), they put sponges and other marine animals on their body.

First description

This crab was described by the German physician and explorer Engelbert Kaempfer end of the 17th century natural history, as noted by the scientific name of the giant crab ( Macrocheira kaempferi ) suggesting that her Coenraad Jacob Temminck awarded in 1836. Both a male and a female of this type are prepared to see in Hexenbürgermeisterhaus in the hometown Kaempfer, Lemgo.


  • Giant Japanese spider crab for entry on the website of Lahinch Seaworld and Leisure Centre