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Giant sea spider

Among the stranger things that MBARI scientists see crawling around the deep seafloor are giant "sea spiders" or pycnogonids. They are very distant relatives of land spiders, scorpions, and horseshoe crabs. Shallow-water pycnogonids are typically a centimeter (1/3 inch) or less in size. However, several deep-sea species, such as this one, grow much larger. Most pycnogonids feed by inserting their proboscises into soft-bodied invertebrates, such as jellies or sea anemones, and then sucking the juices out. The bodies of some pycnogonids are so small that part of their digestive tract extends into their legs. This pycnogonid has just been removed from the sample drawer of the remotely operated vehicle Tiburon, after having been collected on the seafloor, thousands of meters below.

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