Porcupine crabs are found on both sides of the Atlantic, though their exact distribution is not fully understood. They are generally found in deep water, anywhere from 100 to 2000 metres below the surface, and usually at least 300 metres down. In Canada they occur in several pockets in the Scotian Shelf. They are not found in high concentrations within their range.
Porcupine crabs are also referred to as spiny spider crabs, a name that reflects their appearance very well. They are strikingly spider-like in shape, with a small carapace and 10 long, slender legs. Porcupine crabs resemble the stone crab, a related species, but are distinguished by the long (2.5-5 centimetres), sharp spines that cover their body. They are bright red. With their legs spread out, they can measure up to 76 centimetres and weigh 1.4 kilograms.
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