sea spider


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sea spider,

common name for members of the class Pycnogonida, long-legged, rather spiderlike organisms of the subphylum Chelicerata, widely distributed in marine waters. Most are tiny, from 1 to 9 mm (0.04–0.36 in.), and live in littoral regions, crawling about over the surface of sessile animal colonies or seaweeds. Some live on or in clams. There are deep-sea forms, some becoming quite large; Colossendeis colossea has a leg span of nearly 2 ft (91 cm). Their unusual body form makes their relationships to other arthropods obscure. Nearly all of the body is composed of the anterior region (prosoma); a tiny tubular posterior region (opisthosoma) projects behind. A large proboscis is used to suck in food. At the base of the proboscis is a pair of modified appendages (chelicera) used to pick off bits of food and hold them in front of the mouth. The next appendages are a pair of leglike pedipalps, followed by a pair of specialized legs used by the male to carry eggs until they hatch. Four to six pairs of walking legs follow. The reduced body size has led to the extension of the organs into the appendages. They lack gills or lungs; oxygen is absorbed from seawater through diffusion, using pores in the exoskeleton in the largest sea spideers. Members of this class are relatively common and widely distributed; some 1,300 species are known. Sea spiders are classified in the phylum ArthropodaArthropoda
[Gr.,=jointed feet], largest and most diverse animal phylum. The arthropods include crustaceans, insects, centipedes, millipedes, spiders, scorpions, and the extinct trilobites.
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, subphylum ChelicerataChelicerata
, subphylum of Arthropoda, including the horseshoe crabs (order Xiphosura), the arachnids (class Arachnida), and the sea spiders (class Pycnogonida). The extinct giant water scorpions (order Eurypterida, not true scorpions) also are chelicerates.
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, class Pycnogonida.

sea spider

[′sē ‚spī·dər]
(invertebrate zoology)
The common name for arthropods in the subphylum Pycnogonida.
References in periodicals archive ?
Diversity within the sea spider genus Pallenopsis (Pycnogonida: Chelicerata) in the Western Antarctic.
Genetic signature of Last Glacial Maximum regional refugia in a circum-Antarctic sea spider. R.
A"Gigantism is very common in Antarctic waters - we have collected huge worms, giant crustaceans and sea spiders the size of dinner plates,A" Australian scientist Martin Riddle, voyage leader on the research ship Aurora Australis, said yesterday.
Most species of fish, worms, sea spiders, and other animals, plants, and other organisms that live in the waters of Antarctica don't live anywhere else, Stoddard says.
The tropics have long been hailed as rich in species, yet sea spiders may be most diverse in, of all places, Antarctica.
Their records of creatures as diverse as blue whales, sea spiders and giant isopods were prepared with such skill that they remain useful today.
Lynch gives some fascinating background to the pycnogomids or sea spiders, animals that live at great depths in the oceans of the world.
He told The Scotsman that among the most fascinating species were the huge sea spiders.
"The sea spiders are perhaps the most characteristic of the cold areas, and these had been previously known to inhabit the Arctic Ocean living even below its present day ice cap."