8 largest crustaceans

Review of the best according to the editorial board. On the selection criteria. This material is subjective, does not constitute advertising and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.

Crustaceans are marine animals belonging to the genus of arthropods. They live in sea and fresh waters, as well as on land.

This group of arthropods includes crabs, crayfish, lobsters, shrimps, etc. Their body usually consists of three distinct parts: head, chest and abdomen. Covered with a hard outer skeleton, or the so-called carapace. Periodically, crustaceans discard it so as not to interfere with growth. Paired limbs are located on the chest and abdomen, with the help of which you can move and eat.

Some of the crustaceans are considered a delicacy and endangered species due to the intensive capture.

Today we will tell you about the largest representatives of this species.

Rating of the largest crustaceans

Nomination a place Name of product price
The largest crustaceans 1 Bokoplav 34 CM.
2 Tasmanian giant crab 46 CM.
3 Giant isopod 70 CM.
4 Tasmanian giant freshwater crayfish 80 CM.
5 Coconut crab 100 CM.
6 American lobster 107 CM.
7 Alaskan Kamchatka crab 180 CM.
8 Japanese spider crab 600 cm.

8th place: Bokoplav – 34 cm

Rating: 4.3


Bokoplav (multi-legged crayfish or amphipods) refers to crustaceans of the order of higher crayfish.

The habitat can be different: from freshwater rivers to the ocean depths.

Externally, the amphipod has a shape similar to that of a shrimp. The body is flattened on both sides, the legs differ in structure. The first two pairs are equipped with ticks to take food. The ends of the second pair of legs end with claws turned back. On the three remaining pairs, the claws, on the contrary, are turned forward. With the help of these limbs, the amphipod moves along the surface of the nutrient medium.

Usually, amphipods are no more than 10 mm in size, but there are specimens reaching 28 cm. In the Kermadek depression, the western part of the Pacific Ocean, a giant amphipod was found – 34 cm. Such sizes are caused by deep-sea gigantism. The deeper the depth and the higher the atmospheric pressure, the larger the amphipods.

7th place: Tasmanian giant crab – 46 cm

Rating: 4.4

Tasmanian giant crab

The Tasmanian crab is one of the largest representatives of the crab family (order 'decapod crustaceans). It lives, as the name implies, in the waters of South Australia and the island of Tasmania, and is capable of growing up to 46 centimeters in length.

The Tasmanian giant crab can be found at depths of 20-820 m. These crustaceans prefer silt and rocks. They feed on carrion and small marine organisms. Sometimes relatives become food too.

The Tasmanian crab is one of the longest-lived representatives of the order. Its age can reach 20 years. Moreover, the older the crab is, the less often it molts. Adult animals change their shells about once every 10 years.

The Tasmanian 'giant', like the rest of the crabs, has 10 pairs of limbs: pectoral and abdominal. The pair of the largest are claws. They serve for food, protection, participation in the battle for the female. The rest of the limbs are used to move and transfer food to the mouth.

Animals differ from crayfish by a small abdomen bent under the chest, which does not interfere with their movement. Their skin is replaced by a chitinous shell, which protects from enemies. It makes it difficult for animals to grow, so they solve this problem by changing it. A crab without a shell becomes soft and defenseless, therefore, during the formation of a new 'suit', it hides in a secluded place and grows.

6th place: Giant isopod – 70 cm

Rating: 4.5

Giant isopod

Giant isopods (or Isopods) are relatives of woodlice, differing from the latter in their large size. They can grow up to 70 cm.

For the first time, the French zoologist Alphonse Milne-Edwards wrote about these crayfish in 1879. He watched a giant isopod specimen. It was caught from the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico in the Atlantic Ocean. Equipod cancer was a great discovery for the world of scientists. At that time, many believed that there was no life in the depths.

Isopods are similar in appearance to woodlice. Their bodies are covered with rigid plates that provide protection in times of danger. Equipod crayfish collapse when predators appear that cannot pierce the shell.

These marine animals are carnivorous. Their food is usually aquatic organisms and slow moving fish. At the same time, giant isotopes are often called ocean cleaners, since it is they who eat the carcasses of sharks, whales, and other inhabitants of the depths. However, if food is scarce, these giants may not eat at all for a long time. Their hunger strike may take up to five years.

Isopods live mainly at a fairly deep depth, preferring solitude.

5th place: Tasmanian giant freshwater crayfish – 80 cm

Rating: 4.6

Tasmanian giant freshwater crayfish

The Tasmanian giant freshwater crayfish is by far the largest freshwater invertebrate of the crustacean order. He lives exclusively in rivers below 400 meters above sea level in northern Tasmania. It is listed in the Red Book as an endangered species.

This cancer is very whimsical to its house. He likes to settle in the shade of quiet rivers and streams with clean, fresh and cool water.

It can be of different colors – it depends on the habitat: from green-blue to brown. Sometimes blue crayfish come across.

Everything that is in the reservoir serves as food. Old leaves, wood, fish, invertebrates are what the largest freshwater crayfish loves.

Crayfish try to stay away from large animals and fish, as they are a delicacy for them.

Once upon a time, Tasmanian giant freshwater crayfish were rightfully considered giants. 80cm in length is the true size of these giants. Weight ranged from 5 kg. Now this type of crayfish is dying out. They reach a maximum size of 40-60 cm.

The reproductive process in this species of crustaceans is rather long. In males, the childbearing time begins at 9 years old, in females – at 14 years old. Also, 'men' have a real harem of several females. Cancers plan 'children' quite rarely – once every two years. Eggs are laid in autumn. Crustaceans hatch only in summer.

Due to intensive fishing, decreased water quality, and active agricultural activities, the crayfish population has decreased significantly. Today their species is recognized as rare, and everything is being done to preserve it. For catching crayfish, a penalty is imposed – 10 thousand Australian dollars.

4th place: Coconut crab – 100 cm

Rating: 4.7

Coconut crab

The coconut crab (or 'palm thief') is a lone crab from the species of decapod crayfish. Leads a land mode of existence. Lives in the jungle of the Indian and Pacific Oceans.

The body consists of a powerful exoskeleton, an anterior portion with 10 limbs, and an abdominal cavity. The first pair of legs are pincers, with the help of which the palm thief can feast on coconuts, as well as make a grip.

The next two pairs are designed to move not only on horizontal but also on vertical surfaces. The fourth pair grabs the inside of the shell or the remains of the coconut. The last pair of shortened legs has different meanings for both sexes. Females use them to care for eggs, and males mate.

The 'Palm Thief' of cancer is nicknamed because of its ability to extract coconuts directly from palm trees, so that they can then feast on the pulp. At the same time, scientists have proven that the hermit crab can only dissect padan.

Adults also eat nuts, fruits and seeds. The heart of a felled tree is also considered edible for crayfish.

The Palm Thief does not shun cannibalism either. Possessing an excellent sense of smell, he quickly finds food.

During the breeding season, females go to the sea and lay their eggs in the water. The larvae hatch and then settle to the bottom. “Children” are soft and defenseless. To be safe, they hide in empty shells of mollusks. With age, they can reach up to 1 m in length.

The hermit crab lives in shallow burrows, the walls and bottom of which are lined with coconut fibers. It can also live in crevices, dry coral reefs. Often a tree can be chosen for housing.

Palm thief meat is considered a rare delicacy, so this animal is also threatened with extinction.

3rd place: American lobster – 107 cm

Rating: 4.8

american lobster

The American lobster lives on the Atlantic coast of North America. Prefers shallow water and secluded places that can provide protection from enemies. It feeds on fish, molluscs, and small crustaceans. He sleeps during the day, and at night he is very active.

Refers to arthropods of the order of crustaceans. It can weigh up to 4 kg. The size can be completely different. Standard – from 20 to 60 cm. The exception is more than 1 m. It is considered the heaviest of the order of arthropods.

It has ten pairs of legs. The first is equipped with claws for hunting and self-defense. The rest are used for movement.

Prefers a hermitic lifestyle. If he starts a family, then the relationship with his spouse is not quite usual. The two lobsters will constantly be in conflict with each other. The weaker one will retreat, but on equal terms the battle will last until the first victory.

The American lobster has sharp eyesight, and also has a multifunctional mouth, which can not only eat food, but also carry soil, and move around when limbs are injured.

The animal can live up to 50 years.

Lobster meat is considered a popular delicacy. It is eaten boiled and steamed. Some people oppose catching lobsters for food because they are cooked alive.

2nd place: Alaskan Kamchatka crab – 180 cm

Rating: 4.9

Alaskan Kamchatka crab

The Alaskan Kamchatka crab is native to the Far East and the North Pacific.

There are three varieties of this animal: gold and blue royal, as well as red king crab.

There have been several attempts to relocate the latter species to the Barents Sea for capture in Europe. In 1932, there was no reliable delivery method. In 1951, an attempt also failed for a similar reason. Only ten years later, the director of the Far Eastern fleet, Didenko Yuri Grigorievich made a successful attempt to transport the Alaskan king crab by plane. Due to acclimatization, 90% of the eggs died. Since then, only adults have been delivered.

Until 1977, the crab was imported by air, and only then the railway was connected.

The population of these animals is growing rapidly, and the Alaskan king crab is now caught by fishermen on the southwest coast of Norway.

Alaskan Kamchatka crab is omnivorous. It feeds on molluscs, small crustaceans, sea urchins and acorns. The food is ripped apart by the pincers, and the legs and jaws help crush and grind it. The right claw is for solid food. With it, the crab splits shells, destroys the skeletons of marine organisms. The left claw pushes on extremely soft food.

Unlike the American lobster, the Kamchatka crab has poor vision. Sense also fails. Therefore, he has to rely only on touch.

Also, this animal, unlike its many distant relatives, can neither swim nor burrow into the ground. At the same time, it is a fairly fast species of crustaceans. Thanks to its powerful legs, the king crab can move quickly. The speed on a straight, flat surface is 2 km / h. Due to the zigzag movement, the distance per day does not exceed 10-13 km.

Crabs hibernate far from the coast at an average depth of up to 200 m. They do not hibernate, continuing to lead an active lifestyle. During the migration period, males and females separate and move in parallel rows.

And only a month later, the mating season begins for crabs, after which the female lays eggs on her abdominal legs. After mating, the individuals again separate, and again begin to migrate. Only now this is no longer a search for housing, but food.

Alaskan red king crab is the largest subspecies. Armor width – 28 cm, leg span – up to 180 cm.Weighs up to 12.7 kg.

1st place: Japanese spider crab – 600 cm

Rating: 5.0

Japanese spider crab

The Japanese spider crab is the largest arthropod crustacean in the world. The total body length can reach 6 meters, the span of the front legs is 3 meters. True, the carapace is not so 'scaled' and grows up to 45 centimeters. Because of this, Japanese spider crabs are not very 'heavy': the maximum recorded weight was 20 kg.

Lives in the Pacific Ocean near the Japanese Islands. A rocky or sandy bottom at a depth of 150-300 m serves as a refuge. During the mating season, individuals live in shallow water. It occurs during early spring, when fishing is prohibited.

The larvae grow at a temperature of 15-18 C. The temperature for survival is 11-20 C.

The Japanese spider crab has a calm demeanor. He spends most of his time looking for food, wandering on the seabed. Like a Kamchatka relative, he cannot swim. It eats alone, according to its lifestyle it is a hermit. Despite its large body size, it does not hunt, preferring to eat carrion. Therefore, the spider crab tastes bitter. Sometimes it eats algae and small invertebrates.

The carapace does not change throughout life, but the legs lengthen with age. The limbs help to climb hills, but not to grab objects.

There is a legend that this representative of crustaceans can harm people, but this is not so.

The life span is more than fifty years. If the Japanese spider crab is kept in a terrarium, it can live for a century.

Attention! This rating is subjective and does not constitute an advertisement and does not serve as a purchase guide. Before buying, you need to consult with a specialist.

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