Thousands Of Giant Spider Crabs Form A Moving Blanket In Waters Off Australian Coast

Posted: Jun 20 2016, 4:07am CDT | by , Updated: Jun 21 2016, 10:24pm CDT, in News | Latest Science News


Thousands of Giant Spirder Crabs Form a Moving Blanket in the Waters off Australian Coast
Credit: Sheree Marris

Marine scientist captures massive gathering of giant spider crabs in the shallow waters of the ocean.

A marine scientist, who was scuba diving off the coast of Melbourne, stumbled across something astonishing in the depths of the water. Hundreds of thousands of giant spider crabs were having a massive get together in there and she was lucky enough to film this enormous assemblage of crabs in a single place.

“Who would have thought something like this, that is so spectacular, could be happening in Australia on the southern shore.” Aquatic scientist Sheree Marris who captured the footage told BBC.

The large crustaceans that resemble spiders migrate to Australia’s northern shores in the form of a horde every year and create a spectacular view for the onlookers. The migration is the part of their annual molting process where crabs shed their old shells to grow new shells for their growing bodies. As the crabs threw off their old shells and wait for the new ones to form, their bodies are vulnerable to predators like stingrays and sharks. So by being in the crowd, they are actually improving their chances of survival and appear like a moving blanket stretching across hundreds of yards in the shallow waters off the coast.

As you can see in the footage, the crabs are stacking on the top of each other, reflecting a unique kind of arrangement in the pile. In terms of deciding which crab goes on the top of the pile, there is no rule involved. 

“There’s no hierarchy. It’s just this orange chaos of legs and claws. It’s a moving blanket of legs and claws really, it’s pretty awesome. At times they kind of stack on top of each other and the maximum I have seen is 10.” Marris told ABC News.

“But that’s how deep it can actually get, which makes sense because it you are on the top, you’re going to be more vulnerable, especially if they’ve just freshly molted.” 

Giant spider crabs have eight legs and their bodies are 6 inches across. One type of crab, known as Japanese spider crab, is largest species of crab found ever. They can grow up to 12 feet and weigh around 42 pounds. They usually have a long lifespan and can live up to 100 years.

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Hira Bashir covers daily affairs around the world.




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