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Minkyd

Sea tarantula

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Can someone help me with an Id on this sea spider. It was the size of my hand, in shallow water approx 3m. Looks like something out of a nightmare. Found in the Gold Coast Seaway, Australia on a night dive.

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Edited by Minkyd

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That's a surprise - it's a real spider (or else a crab that really really looks like one, but there does seem to be a cephalothorax & an abdominal region). Not a sea spider which belong to the Pycnogonida. Real spiders can live underwater for at least a few hours, some for much longer - http://news.national...a-drowning.html

 

To get an ID you'll need to google for Australian spiders experts & send the photo to them, sorry. Please let us know if you get a response.

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Thanks Leslie, I will follow up and let you know. Ummmmm real spider, that puts a different spin on things.

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Do you have any other photos showing different angles?

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Something's been bothering me about that thing all night. I finally had to get up & do some fact checking. There's only 1 family of spider with 2 eyes & they are attached directly to the body wall. Your little guy has stalked eyes which makes it a crab. Doh! I'll send the image to a couple of friends & see what they say. You could also try Gary Poore, crustacean expert at the Museum of Victoria and author of a book on marine decapod crustacea of Australia.

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Here's one opinion. From Jody Martin, the crustacea curator at my museum.

"Interesting. The dorsally rounded and very setose body, coupled with the fact that the claws are small and that only 3 walking legs per side are visible, lead me to think that this is most likely a member of the family Homolodromiidae, and probably the genus Dicranodromia. It's a fascinating family, considered primitive by nearly all crab workers, and not much is known about it. The eyes of homolodromiids are sort of simple however, usually simply rounded on a stalk, and yet these eyes look more "beanshaped" than is true for that family. I'd like to see it, but I'm sure the specimen was not collected. Dicranodromia species do not get that large -- you mentioned a size of an adult hand -- so maybe this is the genus Homolodromia."

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Thanks Leslie, I have sent an email to Gary and will let you know when he responds.

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What a great find Deb, nightmarish indeed!

 

Cheers,

Jim.

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I am uploading a Gopro video of the crab at the moment so will post it when loaded.

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Oh my gosh.... the sponges in the video that you or someone touched? That sure looks like a empty sponge-covered carapace of the decorator crab Camposcia retusa, which makes me think that your little guy is a newly molted retusa. Hardly anyone ever sees them like that! He was just waiting for you to go away so he could start picking the sponges off his old molt & re-decorate his nice new shell.

 

Here's an image of a specimen with the sponges removed from half the body - http://kanichang.web...cia-retusa.html

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Leslie thank you so much, it all makes sense now. Another 'rare in time and space' moment.

 

The Gold Coast Seaway, Queensland, Australia is an amazing place for critters, so far I have found over 115 species of sea slugs, all in a silty muck dive that no-one else would love, many shrimp species, all sorts of shells, over 450 fish species and many more amazing critters. Unfortunately all may be lost soon with plans to build a cruise ship terminal and the dredging of the Seaway which will destroy all this life and my divesite.

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I sent the photos to several experts & it stumped all of them. One got the family right - Inachidae - but couldn't come up with a genus. I guess none of them has ever seen a freshly molted animal. So that really is a first.

 

That's a real shame about the Seaway. Unfortunately it's a common attitude that "muck" is worthless. Deep sea trawling is destroying coral reefs thought to be as much as 10,000 years old & hosting 1,300 species of animals because they're in the middle of featureless mud that no-one cares about.....

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep-water_coral

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