Sea Spiders

© Johan Boshoff

Name

Sea Spiders (Pantopoda)

Size

Sea spiders vary greatly in size from 1 cm to 1 m.

Identification

Sea spiders have small bodies and long legs – mostly four pairs, but five or six pairs can also occur. They have a proboscis and visible abdomen. They are predominantly brown, beige and orange in colour.

General Info

Sea spiders are a part of the Pantopoda order which includes more than 1400 species. Because their bodies are so tiny, their organs are also located in their legs. They do not have lungs, breathing by diffusion and walking or swimming in a pulsating movement. Eggs are fertilised outside of the female’s body, and males watch over the eggs until the young are hatched. Sea spiders are not true spiders.

Feeding

Sea spiders feed on soft-bodied invertebrates, using their proboscis to suck on their food.

Distribution

The can be found in all oceans across the world, including the Arctic Ocean.

Common Species

Anoplodactylus digitatus
Nymphon gracile
Nymphon sp.

© Johan Boshoff