Great Spider Crab

Leptomithrax gaimardii

Leptomithrax gaimardii - Great Spider Crab
image_search Terms and anatomy

Size: Carapace to 16 cm wide. Leg span to 40 cm

Distribution: All SA costal and offshore waters

Habitat: Sandy substrate, algae beds and rocky reef

Depth: Subtidal to 10+ metres

The largest spider crab encountered in shallow waters, this species is usually found at much greater depth. However, during certain times of the year, they seek shallower waters to breed and moult, often in enormous aggregations. L. gaimardii is usually bright to pale orange in colour, but can be heavily encrusted. Along with their particular pattern of carapace spines, they can be distinguished from most other coastal spider crabs by their large size. Naxia aurita is another species that can grow fairly large, but that species is differentiated by its yellow body, black spots and red eyes.