European Spider Crab

The European Spider Crab (Maja squinado), also known as the Spiny Spider Crab, is a species of migratory crab found in the north-east Atlantic and the Mediterranean Sea. This species migrates usually in autumn, an some crabs may cover more than 100 miles in eight months. It feeds on a great variety of organisms, with seaweeds and mollusks dominating in winter, and echinoderms such as sea urchins and sea cucumbers in summer. Females can produce up to 4 broods per year.

This species is the subject of commercial fishery, with over 5000 tons caught annually. More than 70% of them are caught off the coast of France. The remaining 30% are caught from United Kingdom, Channel Islands, Spain, Ireland, Croatia, Portugal, Serbia, Denmark, and Morocco. The European Union imposes a minimum landing size of 120 mm (4.724 inches). Some other countries have additional laws, such as a ban on egg-bearing females in Spain and a closed season in France and the Channel Islands.

All crabs are vulnerable to predation when molting, and the European Spider Crab becomes gregarious around that time, presumably for defense against predators.

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