The colorful pattern of the Harlequin or Clown shrimp makes this beautiful crustacean quite popular. Its white or cream colored body is covered with distinctive red and purple spots. It has ten legs; the first pair are modified large, flattened claws (chelipeds). The eyes are located on stalks. The first pair of antennae on the head resemble a flattened leaf that sense the smell of nearby prey.
In the last thirty years, collecting exotic spiders has become an increasingly popular pursuit. This species, from the Caribbean islands of Guadeloupe and Martinique is a favorite among collectors and breeders because of its bright colors and docile behavior. A tree-dwelling species, it may attain a length of six inches. Captive specimens do well on crickets and mealworms. Their venom is comparable to that of a wasp. Like other tarantulas, their hairs can cause severe skin irritation, if they are mistreated.
It may not be immediately apparent that this delicate-looking creature, with its four-inch leg-span, is a fairly close relative of the Japanese giant spider crab, with its 12-foot leg span, or the Snow crab, whose legs are popular at seafood buffets. Inhabiting coral reefs from Bermuda and North Carolina through the Caribbean to Brazil, this nocturnal animal preys on marine worms and other invertebrates. Quite aside from its unique appearance, it is prized by aquarists for controlling Bristle worms, which can be pests in aquariums.
The Japanese spider crab is the largest living arthropod, reaching 13 feet in arm span. It is an omnivorous scavenger feeding on decaying animal and plant matter. Found in the cold, deep waters off the coast of Japan, the Japanese spider crab is known to breed between the months of January and April each year. Females of this species can carry up to 1.5 million eggs each season. The exact life span of these giant crustaceans is unknown, but it is believed that they can live more than 50 years, with some reports suggesting that they can survive for more than 100 years.
Until 2001, when the Giant huntsman spider was discovered in Laos, this enormous tarantula of the Northern South American rainforests was known as the largest spider in the world, and is still the heaviest. The legs may span one foot and they can weigh up to six ounces. While it is certainly capable of eating small birds, their more usual prey is insects, frogs, and lizards. Their venom is comparable to that of a wasp, but they are also capable of damaging human skin with their detachable irritating hairs. Females can live to be 25 years old and males only to six.