Main Points

  • Sea spiders come in all shapes and sizes, ranging from 0.03 inches to 20 inches in length.
  • The sea spider’s legs hold all vital organs and have a variety of practical uses that aid the sea spider in survival.

While most spiders remain small and unimposing, many people fear these creepy-crawly arachnids. However, some spiders have a fearsome appearance that deserves the hype. For instance, the deep-sea spider measures almost three feet in length with long, spindly legs that tiptoe the ocean floor.

In this video, a pale, peach-colored spider is seen at an ocean depth of 2,300 feet. The video describes important anatomical aspects that make up the creature. For example, the spider’s organs are carried by their legs. While most spiders only have eight legs attached to their bodies, the sea spider in the video has a few extra smaller limbs. These appendages are used for many activities, including reproduction.

As the sea spider crawls slowly along the ocean floor, we discover that over 1,300 distinct sea spider species exist. These spiders can be found in every ocean that exists on Earth, making them both numerous and adaptable. Overall, the spider observed in the video is fantastical and futuristic-looking with its daddy-long-leg-like stature and peaceful stride.

sea spider image
Sea spiders don’t spin webs; instead, they use a nose-like structure to suck their prey to death.

©simone tognon/Shutterstock.com

Sea Spider Facts

Sea spiders belong to the Pycnogonida class and are related to both crabs and spiders. For instance, the exoskeleton of a sea spider reflects characteristics of a crab while their eight legs make them arachnids. The greatest number of sea spiders are near the Earth’s poles.

One reason for the sea spider’s extremely long legs is that these appendages help them to not become stuck in the sediment that lines the seafloor. Their legs also carry many of their organs and help them to breathe in oxygen. Mating also occurs through the sea spider’s legs. Genital pores within male and female sea spider legs will connect after a male crawls onto a female. The eggs and sperm of both spiders will mix through these pores, allowing for fertilization. The male sea spider, rather than the female, will carry the eggs in his legs until they are ready to hatch.

Female sea spiders are likely to be bigger than male sea spiders. However, one sea spider species has both male and female genitalia, making them hermaphroditic. The species is named Ascorhynchus corderoi.

A sea spider’s diet consists of ocean animals like anemones, sponges, and worms. Sea spiders won’t bite or even necessarily kill their prey. Rather, they will suck out what lies within their prey’s body with their proboscis, which is a tube-shaped attachment found where the sea spider’s mouth would be. Often, a sea spider can feed on another animal without killing them. Instead, the animal will be damaged but alive.

Predators of the sea spider include fish, crabs, and other ocean dwellers. Luckily, though, some species of sea spider can camouflage within their sandy surroundings. This action allows for them to hide from predatory creatures that might be looking for a sea-spider snack.

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