Fear aside, my first thought was, I wonder if it’s real. Let’s find out.
I looked at the photo on several sites and was very interested to read the comments section below them. Almost everyone guessed it was a hoax because it looked suspiciously like something called the Queen Face Hugger from the movie Alien 3. I did not see the Alien movies.
Here’s what the “Queen” Face Hugger looks like (below). I think the commentators are right – this giant sea spider is a hoax and its face looks very much like the creature from the movie.
Oh well, mystery solved!
What’s That On the Seafloor?
That aside, I wondered if giant sea spiders actually exist? Why, yes they do!
According to scientists at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in California, the giant sea spiders they study are from the pycnogonids family of creepy crawlies. These water loving spiders are related in their distant past to horseshoe crabs, scorpions, and the spiders we deal with every day on terra firma.
There are two kinds of pycnogonids – those who live in shallow water and the deep sea variety. The shallow water spiders are very small measuring 1/3 of an inch (1 cm) in diameter at most. But the ones that live deep in the ocean’s depths can actually grow to measure 3 feet wide (nearly 1 meter) including their legs!
Pycnogonids live in every ocean on the planet as far down as 2,300 feet below the surface. Science tells us there are around 1300 different species of them!
They do look a bit scary, but they also look so darn fragile that I don’t think I’d be that afraid of them. Compare it to the tarantula which is a heavyweight compared to this delicate and long thing.
Here’s a one minute video if you’d like to learn more:
Humans are full of surprises, that’s for sure. But so is Mother Nature!
Til the next time!
UPDATE: My friend Natalie, who lives in France, brought this other sea spider to my attention. They call them “araignée de mer”. I looked them up and they are scary to look at – I wouldn’t want to pick one up! Then I learned they are actually a species of crab. They get their name because they look so much like a spider, but they are actually crabs. Well, I guess that explains why they make good eating! Here’s what they look like: