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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Giant Japanese Spider Crab

I visited the Royal Ontario Museum on Tuesday with my son. We went to check out a new dinosaur exhibit featuring creatures I had read about and seen on various cartoon shows like Dinosaur Train and the live-action Dinosaur Dan - but I had never seen them up-close and personal before - and I was awestruck.

While walking around, my son and I spotted this creature (see photo above), so I snapped a picture. No... it has nothing to do with the dinosaurs, despite its appearance. Rather, it is part of the natural history aspect of the ROM.

The creature is a Giant Japanese Spider Crab, and is the world's largest living arthropod. They live i the cold waters of the Pacific Ocean off Japan and have a leg span of 3.7 meters (12-feet) from claw to claw, weighs up to 19-kilograms (41 pounds) and can live up to 100 years of age. They can be found in depths between 50-meters (160 feet) down to 600-meters (2,000-feet).

Known in Japanese as タカアシガニ(高脚蟹 takaashigani) it translates into 'tall-footed crab'. The crab is orange, with white spots along the legs and are usually found off the southern coasts of the Japanese island of Honshu from Tokyo Bay all the way west to Kagoshima-ken (Kagoshima Prefecture).

This gentle crab feeds on shellfish and dead animal bodies - cleaning up the waters.

The crab is occasionally fished for, but there are not a lot out there for an industry.

Andrew Joseph
PS: Anyone may use the photo.
PPS: I found another cool Japanese item at the museum, which I will share anon. Plus, coming soon - another LEGO Japanese feudal diorama built by myself...     

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