• Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Subphylum: Crustacea
  • Class: Malacostraca
  • Subclass: Eumalacostraca
  • Superorder: Eucarida
  • Order: Decapoda
  • Suborder: Pleocyemata
  • Infraorder: Brachyura
  • Family: Oregoniidae
  • Scientific name: Hyas araneus
  • Norwegian: sandpyntekrabbe


The shell is pear-shaped and can reach a length of 11-12 cm. The color is usually brown. The most obvious difference between the great spider crab and the lyre crab is the lack of a carapace narrowing just behind the eyes. Both species have the characteristic hooks, on both sides of the head. The purpose of these is to attach seaweed as camouflage.


The great spider crab is found from just below the tidal zone and down towards 350 meters. It is not very choosy about its habitat. You may find in on all kinds of substrate and on current exposed locations as well as in calm waters.


It is widespread in the North-East Atlantic, including Iceland, Norway, the British Isles and the coasts of central Europe.