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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Long-legged Spider Crab Macropodia rostrata

Also called the decorator crab because it camouflages itself using fragments of seaweed and sponges, the long-legged spider crab is covered in hook-shaped hairs that hold its disguise in place, enabling it to blend in with the seaweed among which it lives. This crab has a triangular-shaped carapace that extends forward between the eyes into an eight-toothed projection called a rostrum. Its spiderlike legs are at least twice as long as its body and can be used, somewhat ineffectively, for swimming. The long-legged spider crab feeds on small shellfish, algae, small worms, and detritus. Breeding occurs year-round on Atlantic coasts, but takes place between March and September in the Mediterranean. The male transfers sperm to the female using its first pair of abdominal legs. The female carries the eggs until they hatch into larvae that live in the plankton.

Long-legged Spider Crab habitat mapzoom image
  • Subphylum Crustacea
  • Length Up to 1 in (2.5 cm)
  • Habitat Lower shore, usually not beyond 165 ft (50 m)
  • Distribution Northeastern Atlantic from southern Norway to Morocco, Mediterranean