Spider Crab, Or Sea Spider, the name of several species of ten-footed short-tailed crustaceans of the crab family, and more particularly of the libinia canalicirfata of North America and the maia squinado of Europe. In L. canaliculata (Say) the thorax is densely hairy, with spines on the borders and on the back; the rostrum is grooved at the tip and channelled between the eyes; the anterior feet are unarmed and granulated, the hands elongated, and the fingers white at tip. The body is convex and heart-shaped, 4 in. in diameter, the long legs spreading over 12 to 16 in.; the eyes small and very short; it is blackish green, very active, and ferocious-looking; it is often caught in nets, and from the wharves and bridges of New England; it is not used for food. The M. squinado (Latr.), or corwich, is reddish, and 4 to 6 in. long; the body is covered with spines and hairs; it is found along the coasts of W. Europe and in the Mediterranean, making its appearance in Great Britain about May and remaining till September, greatly annoying the fishermen by frightening away fish and larger crabs and lobsters from the nets by its constant movements; it is eaten by the poorer classes; the young when first hatched are very unlike their parents; as many as 80,000 eggs have been found on a single female.
The ancients believed it to be endowed with reason, and represented it suspended from the neck of Diana of Ephesus as an emblem of wisdom; it is also figured on their medals. - Lithodes arctica (Latr.) is also called spider crab; the body is spiny, and the long beak bifurcated; the hands small and unequal, the limbs long and hairy, and the fifth pair imperfect; it is reddish yellow, spreading about 20 in., and a hideous-looking species; it is found on the coast of Norway.
Spider Crab (Maia squinado).