Meet Australia's largest crustacean - the Giant Tasmanian Crab! The body of the giant crab is like a solid heart shape squashed down from the top. It is covered in a blotchy orange shell or carapace. Two little dark eyes peer from the lower centre of the heart.
Two claws are attached to the lower sides of the body, the left claw curling closer around the front of the body and the much larger right claw curling around the smaller one.
The left claw has two orange shell segments and a pointed pincer while the right is two to three times bigger with longer and wider segments and one giant grey/black pincer. This right pincer seems out of scale, oversized. Three black legs hook out and down on both sides of the body like a spider’s legs. They each have three grey/white segments with black claw like ends.
Crustaceans are a group of invertebrate animals that includes crabs, lobsters, prawns and barnacles. In the same way you need larger clothes as you grow, the Giant Tasmanian Crab needs to shed its shell as it grows. Juvenile crabs moult every 3 to 4 years, whereas adult females shed every 9 years - and this is also the only time they can mate!
Although reproduction is rare, this species is long-lived and releases many eggs into the water. A larva hatches out of the eggs and drifts through the ocean before settling on the sea floor. You can easily spot the males by their one over-sized claw; females have two normal-sized ones.