Army of giant spider crabs gather Australian bay

Pablo Tucker
June 18, 2016

Every year, hundreds of thousands of giant spider crabs descend upon Port Phillip Bay, Melbourne, Australia, as part of their annual migration toward cooler waters.

Victoria-based aquatic scientist Sheree Marris came across a unique sight while scuba diving off Melbourne. Half the region, which stretches about 164 miles (264 km), is shallower than 26 feet (8 meters).

"Who would have thought something like this, that is so spectacular, could be happening in Australia on the southern shore", she said. At the end of the video, you can see where they do start molting.

Sheree Marris
Ms. Marris said she had never seen so many giant spider crabs gathered together in one place

However, giant spider crabs are relatively vulnerable to predators.

Crabs may gather for protection or perhaps mating is behind the behavior.

Marris said it was impossible to tell how many giant grabs were in the horde but she hopes her footage brings awareness to the diversity of sea life in Australia's southern waters. "It's pretty awesome", Marris told the ABC.

"It's gobsmackingly incredible", she told Australia's 9News. "[In previous years] I've swam maybe a minute-and-a-half to two minutes and [this year] I wasn't going slow".

"They secrete a special enzyme that separates the old shell from the underlying skin, while a new soft paper-like shell is secreted beneath the old one".

"I've seen the aggregation so many times but it never ceases to amaze me", she said.

"There's no hierarchy. It's just this orange chaos of legs and claws".


Watch this colossal horde of giant spider crabs making their way to warmer waters.

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