The 27 Best Deep-Sea Species #6: Giant Sea Spiders

#6: Colossendeis spp. (Phylum: Arthropoda, Class: Pycnogonida, Order: Pantopoda, Family: Colossendeidae)

Don’t let the “spider” moniker fool you. These guys are a far cry from your household fly-catcher. I’ve seen giant deep sea pycnogonids whose legspans are as large as my chest. But there is nothing to fear from these creatures. There is barely any meat in them. In fact, there is so little room in their body that vital organs, gut and gonads are pushed down to its tippy toes. They have 8 legs but males have 1-2 pairs of ovigers as well, which look like small legs and are for carrying the eggs (see photo on left). Like the sea horses, male sea spiders care for the eggs thanks to their deadbeat-good-for-nothing-don’t-have-a-care-in-the-world moms.

Pycnogonids feed on sessile (=non-moving) animals like barnacles, hydroids and corals. The literally suck out the life juices form their prey with a long proboscis. The guys are cool and inhabit most of the deep seas. Every expedition seems to bring at least one up! – KAZ

Kevin Zelnio (870 Posts)

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