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Khamis, 11 Februari 2010
'Crabzilla': The biggest crab ever seen in Britain...
Crabzilla: Derek Scales from the National Sealife Centre in Birmingham with the biggest crab in Britain
With its enormous legs and lethal claws, this monster of the deep is already the biggest crab ever seen in Britain.
But astonishingly, the arthropod - which measures a staggering 10ft from claw to claw - is still growing, and could live until it is 100.
Nicknamed 'Crabzilla' after the fictional giant monster, the Japanese Spider Crab has a body the size of a basketball and its legs can straddle a car. They will eventually measure a massive 15ft.
The crab, called Macrocheira kaempferi in Latin, was caught by fishermen in the Pacific Ocean and has now been imported to Britain where it has gone on display at the National Sea Life Centre in Birmingham.
Out of the water, the crab looks limp and languid because it cannot support its heavy limbs.
But in its own habitat - up to 2,500ft down in the cold seas of the ocean - it is a lethal predator.
However, it also has predators of its own - humans - as it is considered a delicacy in Japan.
Graham Burrows, curator of the National Sea Life Centre in Birmingham, said: 'It is rumoured these crabs can grow to four metres across.
'Our open-topped ray tank has the icy cold waters Crabzilla needs, and will be his home until the end of March.
'He absolutely dwarfs the other crabs in there, but he's not aggressive and they should have nothing to worry about.'
'He has already spent time in quarantine and ultimately will be moved to the Sea Life centre in Blankenberge in Belgium.'
He added: 'The Japanese Spider Crab is the largest known member of the arthropod family, which includes all invertebrates with jointed limbs.
'Crabzilla's front limbs are his feeding arms, each over five feet long and ending in sizeable claws.
'They are a Japanese delicacy and are usually salted and steamed, but eating them in the spring is banned because that is when they lay their eggs.'