Skip to main content

Japanese spider crabs

Did you know?

Macrocheira kaempferi

It’s not a spider – but it looks a bit like one! With a leg span up to 12 feet, this is the biggest crab species in the world.

Meet our giant crabs

Living deep down
in the Pacific.
Japanese spider crabs live in the deep, cold depths of the Pacific ocean around Japan. Our crabs share a habitat inside the Pacific Seas Aquarium, just near the entrance.
Living deep
and eating off the floor
Imagine the Seattle Space Needle, pointing 600 feet under the ocean…that’s how deep these crabs like to live!
They scavenge the sandy sea floor for dead plants and animals – with a live treat whenever they can catch it.
From legless larvae
to long-legged giants
Female spiders crabs carry fertilized eggs on a part of their abdomens until they hatch into tiny planktonic larvae.
These look nothing like adult crabs! Instead, they are small, round, legless and transparent, and drift in the ocean.
Crab camouflage
Cover your carapace
Some young crabs “decorate” their carapaces with small anemones or algae as camouflage.
But adults rarely do – they’re too big to have to hide from predators!

Protect the Ocean

It takes all of us.

THE THREAT: Ocean animals are in danger – from humans. Our plastic and oil spills engulf them. Our boats and nets overfish them. And our carbon dioxide warms their world.

TAKE ACTION: Stop using straws, bottles and other single-use plastic. Drive less, recycle more. Pick up pet poop and avoid pesticides. Eat sustainable seafood. And speak up. Together we can protect the ocean.

Aquarium Stories

Ocean Voices Speaker Series

Ocean Voices Speaker Series As part of the Pacific Seas Aquarium Community Celebration, every Tuesday evening this April we’re gathering the best local scientists and ocean activists we can find for a dynamic speaker series at venues around Tacoma. Come listen, learn and be inspired to protect our ocean. All events are free.   April … Continued

Read More
Distracting the Octopus

Playing with an octopus isn’t in everyone’s job description. But for aquarium staff Paige Gutierrez and Tai Fripp, it’s all part of caring for Ozzie, the giant Pacific octopus inside the Pacific Seas Aquarium at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium. Why? Because an octopus is curious – and if an aquarist is cleaning her habitat, … Continued

Read More
Baja Diving

In clear, blue Baja Bay, three scuba divers are drifting alongside eagle rays and brightly-colored fish. They’re moving slowly, and unlike most divers in tropical waters, they’re not gazing admiringly at the animals around them. Because these divers are aquarists at Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium – and they’re hard at work. “We clean, we … Continued

Read More
Who's Nearby?
Love our spider crabs? Then look for our jellies, just down the “shimmer” ramp!