Arthropods are invertebrates with an exoskeleton, a hard and protective outer shell made of chitin. They also have appendages that are jointed and their bodies are segmented.
An exoskeleton is rigid and cannot expand to allow the animal to grow, so the animal must regularly molt to get rid of the smaller exoskeleton and replace it with a larger one.
Arthropods can be found on land, in the water and in the air. Some examples of arthropods you will find at the Newport Aquarium are horseshoe crabs, Caribbean spiny lobsters, hermit crabs, decorator crabs, fire shrimp, Sally lightfoot crabs, white crayfish and various other shrimp.
Japanese Spider Crabs are the world's largest known living arthropod, and may live up to 100 years! While their bodies stop growing at about 15 inches, their legs keep growing and can eventually extend to 12 feet from claw to claw!
Their armored exoskeleton and camouflaged body helps protect them from predators and they shed and renew it as they grow.
Its' mottled, bumpy carapace helps it blend into the ocean floor and they have even been known to decorate the tops of their carapace with sponges, anemones and other animals for more camouflage.
See it in its new home in Ring of Fire: World of the Octopus