Giant Japanese Spider Crab Facts

Japanese spider crab at Manila Ocean Park. Image credit: Tsarli (Charles Laigo) CC-BY-SA-3.0

Giant Japanese Spider Crab Facts.

Giant spider crab
Giant spider crab. Image credit: Ruth Hartnup cc2.0

What would you do if you saw a spider with legs over 10 feet long from tip to tip? (That’s longer than your bed.) You’d probably run off screaming at the top of your lungs. Thank goodness no such spider exists, but a crab does and appropriately so, it’s called the giant Japanese spider crab.

It’s Giant, Alright


The Japanese spider crab gets its name from its eight legs, each so long that a pair can span up to 13 feet from tip to tip. That’s very long considering its body can grow only up to 15 inches wide – just a little over a foot.

No wonder the scientific name of the Japanese spider crab is Macrocheira kampfaeri. ‘Macrocheira’ comes from two Greek words – ‘makros’ meaning ‘big’ or ‘long’ and ‘cheir’ meaning ‘hands’ or ‘arms’. Together, they mean ‘long-armed’. Also, in Japanese, this crab is called taka-ashi-gani which translates to ‘tall legs crab’.

The Japanese spider crab can weigh up to 44 pounds – that’s about as heavy as a 6-year old child! It is not only the largest crab or the largest crustacean but it also holds the title for the largest arthropod. In case you’re wondering what an arthropod is, arthropods are animals with segmented bodies, jointed legs and visible, outer skeletons that look like armor. Other examples of arthropods include all insects, spiders, centipedes, lobsters and shrimps.

How Big Is The Largest Japanese Spider Crab?

Crabzilla in Sea Life Scheveningen. Image credit: Pvt pauline GFDL v1.2

Just how big can the Japanese spider crab get? Currently, the record holder is ‘Crabzilla’, whose legs measure 12 feet long from tip to tip. He was caught in 2009 and has been on display at the Sea Life Scheveningen in the Netherlands since 2010.

Another Japanese spider crab held at Sea Life Blackpool in the UK named ‘Big Daddy’ has legs that measure 10.2 feet across.

In 2011, a Japanese spider crab measuring 10 feet across was caught in Suraga Bay near Tokyo. It was named ‘Crab Kong’ and is believed to one day surpass the size of Crabzilla.

The Japanese spider crabs that are usually caught by fishermen, though, measure just around 3 feet across.

Giant Spider Crab Mol