MarLIN

information on the biology of species and the ecology of habitats found around the coasts and seas of the British Isles

Great spider crab (Hyas araneus)

Distribution data supplied by the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS). To interrogate UK data visit the NBN Atlas.

Summary

Description

The great spider crab is reddish-brown with a pear-shaped carapace, up to 10 cm long and 8 cm wide. At the anterior end the rostrum projects between the eyes and is split into 2 tapering parts that touch at their tips. The first pair of abdominal limbs, or pleopods, bear pincers and are shorter and stouter than pairs 2-5, which are long, slender and spider-like. The carapace has a few large tubercles and may be covered with encrusting invertebrates.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Found around all British coasts, but less common in the south and west.

Global distribution

A northern species found around Spitzbergen, Iceland and Norway, also Greenland and north America, reaching its southern limit in the English Channel.

Habitat

Hyas araneus is found on hard and sandy substrates, among rocks and seaweed on the lower shore and sublittorally to a depth of about 50 m.

Depth range

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Identifying features

  • Carapace pear-shaped, up to 10 cm long and 8cm wide, with scattered, conspicuous tubercles.
  • Reddish-brown dorsally, off-white underside.
  • Frontal region with a longitudinal row of paired tubercles and setae.
  • Bifid rostrum projects between the eyes, the two parts converging at their tips.
  • First pair of abdominal limbs, or pleopods have pincers and are stouter and shorter than pleopods 2-5, which are long, slender and spider-like.

Additional information

-none-

Listed by

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Further information sources

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Bibliography

  1. Clark, P.F., 1986. North East Atlantic crabs: an atlas of distribution. Ross-on-Wye: Marine Conservation Society.

  2. Fish, J.D. & Fish, S., 1996. A student's guide to the seashore. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

  3. Hayward, P., Nelson-Smith, T. & Shields, C. 1996. Collins pocket guide. Sea shore of Britain and northern Europe. London: HarperCollins.

  4. Hayward, P.J. & Ryland, J.S. (ed.) 1995b. Handbook of the marine fauna of North-West Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  5. Howson, C.M. & Picton, B.E., 1997. The species directory of the marine fauna and flora of the British Isles and surrounding seas. Belfast: Ulster Museum. [Ulster Museum publication, no. 276.]

  6. Ingle, R.W., 1980. British Crabs. Oxford: British Museum (Natural History), Oxford University Press.

  7. Picton, B.E. & Costello, M.J., 1998. BioMar biotope viewer: a guide to marine habitats, fauna and flora of Britain and Ireland. [CD-ROM] Environmental Sciences Unit, Trinity College, Dublin.

Datasets

  1. Centre for Environmental Data and Recording, 2018. Ulster Museum Marine Surveys of Northern Ireland Coastal Waters. Occurrence dataset https://www.nmni.com/CEDaR/CEDaR-Centre-for-Environmental-Data-and-Recording.aspx accessed via NBNAtlas.org on 2018-09-25.

  2. Cofnod – North Wales Environmental Information Service, 2018. Miscellaneous records held on the Cofnod database. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/hcgqsi accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-09-25.

  3. Environmental Records Information Centre North East, 2018. ERIC NE Combined dataset to 2017. Occurrence dataset: http://www.ericnortheast.org.uk/home.html accessed via NBNAtlas.org on 2018-09-38

  4. Fife Nature Records Centre, 2018. St Andrews BioBlitz 2015. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/xtrbvy accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-09-27.

  5. Fife Nature Records Centre, 2018. St Andrews BioBlitz 2016. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/146yiz accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-09-27.

  6. Isle of Wight Local Records Centre, 2017. IOW Natural History & Archaeological Society Marine Invertebrate Records 1853- 2011. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/d9amhg accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-09-27.

  7. Manx Biological Recording Partnership, 2018. Isle of Man historical wildlife records 1990 to 1994. Occurrence dataset:https://doi.org/10.15468/aru16v accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-01.

  8. Merseyside BioBank., 2018. Merseyside BioBank (unverified). Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/iou2ld accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-01.

  9. National Biodiversity Network (NBN) Atlas website. Available from: https://www.nbnatlas.org.

  10. National Trust, 2017. National Trust Species Records. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/opc6g1 accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-01.

  11. Norfolk Biodiversity Information Service, 2017. NBIS Records to December 2016. Occurrence dataset: https://doi.org/10.15468/jca5lo accessed via GBIF.org on 2018-10-01.

  12. OBIS,  2018. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. www.iobis.org. Accessed: 2018-11-21

Citation

This review can be cited as:

Avant, P. 2003. Hyas araneus Great spider crab. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. (eds) Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 21-11-2018]. Available from: https://www.marlin.ac.uk/species/detail/1753

Last Updated: 21/07/2003