On the Air: May 29, 2016
Japanese spider crab. Credit: Popular Science Magazine, June 1920.

Most of the crabs you find scuttling along the beach are a few inches to perhaps a foot or so across. But they have some relatives off the coast of Japan that are a bit more intimidating. In fact, they’ve been described as “crabzilla.” Spread out, their legs can span 13 feet, and the crabs can weigh up to 40 pounds. Not only does that make them the largest of all crabs, it makes them the largest of all arthropods — a class of creatures that includes everything from crabs and shrimp to scorpions and spiders.

In Print: May 1, 2016
Zooplankton, crustacean larva seen under a microscope. Credit: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, photographer: Matt Wilson/Jay Clark.

Tiny marine creatures known as zooplankton feed on phytoplankton, which use photosynthesis to create their food. Since phytoplankton tend to hang out at the ocean’s surface to absorb the sun’s energy, zooplankton head there for their meals each night. But when morning arrives, zooplankton become targets for predators, so they move to deeper waters during the day.