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Number 8: The Japanese spider crab
This massive crab has the largest leg span of any arthropod, which can reach the impressive length of 18 feet from claw to claw. This is particularly peculiar as its carapace grows only to be around 16 inches wide.Its weight is massive as well compared to other underwater arthropods, with some adults reaching an impressive size of 42 lbs. Having a bumpy shell allows it to blend perfectly with the ocean floor, making it appear as just another rock laying around. To make the illusion even more uncanny, the crab adorns itself with sponges and marine flowers, which means if you ever bump into it, you’ll never see it -or its freakishly long legs!- coming.
Number 7: The Giant isopod
The Bathynomus giganteus, more commonly known as giant isopod, is basically the equivalent of the earth-bound woodlouse. Luckily for us, they mainly call the sea surrounding the Yucatán Peninsula home, near the coast of Mexico, and only at depths of 1177 feet… or deeper!.
Number 6: The Antlered crab
What sets this arthropod apart from any other crab you might encounter? They’re also known as carrier crabs, as they have the ability to keep a pair of walking legs over their shells and utilize them as ‘hands’ to move around objects and even other invertebrates like sea urchins or corals.
Number 5: The Giant water bug
As they can breathe underwater once they reach adulthood, these arthropods feature breathing tubes that easily retract into its abdomen, in order to be able to remain underwater for long periods of time. They’re also known as toe-biters, and over 170 different types of giant water bugs have been found in freshwater habitats around the world, most commonly in Africa. Most species are small, around 0.35 inches long, though some have been known to grow as large as 0.8 inches.
Number 4: The Water scorpion
Much like our previous entry, this arthropod closely resembles its land relative in most ways. The water scorpion can usually be found in ponds and streams, most predominantly around Asia, where locals enjoy meals featuring it as its main ingredient, but many species have also been discovered in America and around the globe. They typically grow up to 0.8 inches long, though it has been known to reach the 4.5 inches mark.
Number 3: Horseshoe crabs
Though commonly referred to as crabs, they’re nothing of the sort. They belong instead to the family of the Limulidae, and can be found both in rivers and oceans, so you regretfully have more chances of running into them than you do with most of the other critters from this list. The horseshoe crab’s habitat is shallow coastal waters with muddy floors, as they tend to be quite happy hiding just beneath the surface. They’re commonly found in Asia, where they’ve become a thankfully not-so-popular dish over the centuries. They have a massive amount of legs, some of which they use to help pin the female down during mating season, others for collecting their food or moving around on the ocean and river floor.
Number 2: Sacculina carcini
This little critter is effectively a parasite that attaches itself to a very much unwilling host. Eventually they force a sac to pop from the crab’s side, creating tendrils that spread all through its body.
Number 1: Cymothoa exigua
All you need to know about the cymothoa exigua is its most popular moniker: The tongue-eating louse. If this isn’t enough to make the hair stand up on the back of your neck, just hang on to your seat. These parasites are small, around 0.3 to 1.1 inches long, with the male always being slightly smaller than the females of the species. Adding insult to injury, they’ll then attach themselves to the stub left behind and effectively become the fish’s new tongue, gaining nourishment from everything it eats.