Some sea spiders have been reaching record sizes in the polar regions. Image Credit: NOAA
Scientists have discovered that some species of sea spider have been growing to abnormally large sizes.
Despite having eight legs and looking a lot like regular spiders, sea spiders aren't actually arachnids at all but instead belong to a group of arthropods known as pycnogonids. There are over 1,300 different species and while many are quite small, some have grown to quite enormous sizes.
Of particular note are those specimens which live in the cold polar regions where a peculiar type of gigantism has been affecting several different categories of marine life for years.
Scientists have so far been unable to explain what could be causing this however leading theories include the possibility that the water's high oxygen content might be responsible.
Cold temperatures reducing the creatures' metabolic rates could also be a factor.
The poles aren't the only places that sea spiders can grow to large sizes however as some species, even in warmer climates, have been found to grow in excess of three feet across.