Pycnogonids are marine arthropods (but not crustaceans) distributed across the world oceans in shallow as well as deep waters. They range in size from 1 mm to over 90 cm with the larger species occurring in the Antarctic.

Sea spiders have very long walking legs, mostly four pairs, relative to small bodies. Curiously, their digestive tract extends into their legs. Because of their slender legs and bodies, respiration happens through diffusion only with no specific respiratory system present as occurs in may crustaceans.

Pycnogonids are primarily predators. They often use their proboscis to suck food from soft-bodied invertebrates such as sea anemones.

Their are about 1300 species worldwide, at least 39 species occur in the Arctic.

Page Author: Bodil Bluhm
Created: September 1, 2010

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