Hull spiders appear as large, heavy spiders that have hard, shell-like exoskeletons and twelve legs, clawed feet and large, iron hard mandibles. A typical hull spider weighs 20 kilograms (44 pounds) and a leg span of one meter (3.3 feet).
Generally, hull spiders are not dangerous if left undisturbed and will content themselves with crawling around the pylons of a dock or ship hulls to get at tasty morsels of food. However, hull spiders have been known to attack swimmers if they smell interesting.
Hull spiders can be found in temperate to tropical ocean waters all over the world. They concentrate in certain areas more than others.
These spiders "infest" the hulls of ships in great numbers. Typically, several dozen will attach themselves to the bottom of a ship. Hull spiders feed on moss, algae, lichen, barnacles and other small aquatic animals that build up on ship bottoms or in and around harbors. Hull spiders can be dangerous. If they smell something interesting in a cargo hold - food, spices, etc. - they will chew through the hull to get at it. Captains will sometimes take their empty ships into hull spider infested territory to clean off the hull. This usually takes about a week, but can be a less expensive way to do it.
This website was last updated January 6, 2018. Copyright 1990-2018 David M. Roomes.