Giant Sea Spider

Giant sea spiders spanning six feet in length and faster than one cares to imagine been found in the waters of Antarctica!

Giant black sea spider standing over man on a beach.I had to verify the information when I heard about these giant sea spiders. The length of the spider is not six feet, but more like 1 foot, as in the picture above. Still, a 12 inch spider is enough to freak me out!

A project that spanned two months with a team of Scientists from Japan, Australia, and France recently obtained specimens from the waters off of Antarctica. They went more than 6,000 feet deep to collect these creatures and found that most specimens, including the giant sea spider, had never been seen before.

Led by the Australian Antarctic Division, the team reported that “Gigantism is common in Antarctic waters – we have collected huge worms, giant crustaceans and sea spiders the size of dinner plates,” Australian scientist Martin Riddle, voyage leader on the research ship Aurora Australis, said.

Besides creatures like the sea spider, interesting findings included fish with unusually large eyes – very unusual for such a deep environment. Unless we find that these fish can actually see in pitch black which would give way to a whole new technology! We can see in the dark, but we need some light – down that deep, there is no light of any type. You can see that the sea spider is completely white.

All the specimens have been sent to labs for research and needless to say, we are all anxiously awaiting the results!

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14 replies
  1. MojaveMike says:

    I imagine giant sea spiders are slightly less fast than a peregrine falcon. The falcon is the fastest animal, so the giant sea spider can’t be any faster. Does the giant sea spider swoop too?

  2. Kat says:

    Pycnogonids, or “sea spiders”, are among the most bizarre-looking arthropods. Another name sometimes used for them, Pantopoda, means “all legs” and describes them perfectly. Pycnogonids have extremely reduced bodies in which the abdomen has almost disappeared, while the legs are long and clawed. The head has a long proboscis with an unusual terminal mouth and several simple eyes on a central tubercle. The head also bears a pair of claws and a pair of ovigers on which the eggs are carried. All in all, it can be hard to tell just which end of a pycnogonid is the head; in this picture the head is to the right (we think) and the proboscis has been bent under the body.

    Pycnogonids feed on soft-bodied invertebrates, in particular cnidarians, sucking at them with their probosces, and larval pycnogonids often live as parasites within cnidarian tissues. The intestine of pycnogonids has extremely long diverticulae (blind pouches) that extend to the ends of the legs.

    Pycnogonids have almost no fossil record. Three genera have been found in the Devonian, in the Hunsruck Slate of western Germany. A cast of one of them, Paleopantopus, is shown here. Pycnogonids were once thought to be close relatives of the chelicerates (horseshoe crabs, true spiders, scorpions, etc.). Both pycnogonids and chelicerates have claws on the first appendages and a tubercle with simple eyes, and both lack antennae. However, pycnogonids show so many unusual features, such as the proboscis, reduced abdomen, ovigers, gut diverticulae, and so on, that they may comprise a separate group that probably branched off very early from the arthropod stem.

  3. Xopool says:

    Faster than one cares to imagine? Faster than what? What does their speed have to do with anything? How fast are they? I know, “Than one cares to imagine”. How fast does one care to imagine? Was this written for 1st graders? I really want to know how fast they are. I care to imagine – I care. If I were a kid that would be the first question I’d ask. How fast are they?

    Please it seems that you are hiding how fast these things are, but just assuming that they are faster than we care to imagine. Isn’t that being a bit presuptuious? You can’t be sure that everyone doesn’t care to imagine how fast these spiders can run underwater.
    Please quit teasing us, Mr. Sea Spider Article Guy, we care to imagine. Would you mind posting their speed in MPH (Miles Per Hour) for us American who don’t use the metric system.

  4. Ellie says:

    I don’t see how any fish can see in the Midnight zone and Rachel half of Wikipedia is false and Sea Spiders can be found all over any ocean..

  5. Rachel says:

    on Wikipedia it said that a sea spider can get up to 90cm long which is 35.45 inches long that is three feet. so how come that is called just a sea spider and ft. long one is called a GIANT sea spider.explain that oh these sea spiders are found in the Mediterranean and Caribbean sea.

  6. Tia says:

    I think sea spiders are pretty interesting i would love to observe one up close..It makes me think of the spider i have at home, i freak people out occasionally by taking him out and chasing people with it..

  7. Rachel Langley says:

    My boyfriend visited the east coast of OZ roughly 3 yrs ago. He has what I believe are 2 spider bites on the back of his left calf. One of the bites has clearly 2 puncture marks about 1/2″ apart. Both bites are red in appearance & the skin directly around them feels quite hard. Roughly every 6-8 wks these bites start itching soon after they start to bleed.

    This has been going on for the last 3 years. Can anyone help me? Can anyone put me in touch with someone who could maybe take skin samples to find out what time of spider is was that bit him (if in fact it was a spider). I don’t know if there is any treatment but I would like to at least know if it was a spider. He won’t go to the Dr with this complaint as he fears he will be laughed at & I am in agreement with him. I would rather he went straight to a specialist in spider bites. We’d both be really grateful for some help.

  8. Zach says:

    Um, I don’t think that’s a spider. It doesn’t seem to have two body segments. It looks more like a Harvestman to me.

  9. Chipp says:

    It should be noted that it’s not literally a spider, but some kind of crustacean. Cool looking though!

  10. NITA says:

    I?m am terrified of spiders but I think this giant sea spider is pretty cool. My mom would freak if I brought one home she?s just like me cant really stand spiders but I like to look them up and see pics of them just so I know what ones to run from and what ones I really don?t have to worry about.

  11. Snerticus says:

    I had a sea spider in my salt water reef aquarium years ago. I thought it was absolutely awesome. My spider was white, as in the picture, but only a few mm in length – hardly a giant. But it was a sea spider nonetheless. I had read about them in books and had only seen drawings of them. No one believed me when I said it was a sea spider. They all told me it was a larval arrow crab or some nonsense. It was clearly a sea spider with no discernable abdomen. Just a bunch of legs that came together in the middle. It was obviously feeding on something in my refugium, where there were no fish present. It hung out with a sea cucumber. I wish I had a reef tank today, you never know what you will find in it!

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