3 Animals That Live In The Ocean And Their Habitat Who’s Tough Enough to Eat a Sea Spider?

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Who’s Tough Enough to Eat a Sea Spider?

Instead of “Who’s tough enough to eat a sea spider?” you must know what a sea spider is.

They have been around for millions of years, but live in an environment not often in contact with humans. Volcanic ash near Herefordshire, UK, reveals spider fossils from 425 million years ago. They have been here for a long time. Recently, scientific expeditions in the Antarctic area have discovered some amazing actual examples.

Near the Ross Sea shelf in South Antarctica live gigantic specimens of many forms of sea creatures. In addition to giant worms and crustaceans, these expeditions brought back sea spiders larger than a dinner plate. Many had the normal eight legs, but some had more, even up to twelve. Marine life of very large size is nothing unusual in the Antarctic area. Scientists speculate that this is due to the cold temperatures, high oxygen levels, ample food and general lack of predators in the area.

Sea spiders exist in total darkness about four miles deep. They crawl around feeding on soft-bodied creatures like sponges and sea sponges using their proboscis to suck the life out of their prey. In fact, they are VAMPIRES! So, such ogres now exist in the deepest Antarctic Ocean, just as they did in Romania in the days of Count Dracula.

At the time when the giant sea spiders appeared, so did an ancient toad called Beelzebufo, the Devil’s Toad. BeBo appeared among crocodile and dinosaur fossils dating to the late Cretaceous period, approximately 70 million years ago, on the island of Madagascar. He is a monstrous creature that weighed about ten kilograms with an armored skin. He probably needed that to deal with dinosaurs and crocodiles every day. Scientists think BeBo may have eaten some baby dinosaurs too; he must have been a very tough customer.

BeBo is not related to any African frog or toad. Instead, its closest relatives are in South America where they are kept as pets and are known as “pacman” frogs because of their very large mouths. Now, why does this matter? Consider this: Madagascar is a long way across the Atlantic Ocean from South America. How is BeBo in Madagascar and all his relatives are far away in South America? This leads to speculation among scientists that some kind of land connection between Africa and South America may have remained after the continents split centuries ago. Perhaps it was through Antarctica, a much warmer place in the past than it is now.

All these related discoveries have led to a speculative debate: What does a sea spider eat? Could it be BeBo, the devil’s armored toad? While the spider takes up almost as much space as BeBo, there are overwhelming differences in BeBo’s favor. He weighed about 10 kilograms, had a very large mouth, his skin was armored, and he had millions of years of experience fighting dinosaurs. This is not a contest. The sea spider weighs next to nothing, and its proboscis would instantly crumble when it met BeBo’s armor plate.

So why do we want to know about any of this?

First, the sea spider and all its giant friends can reveal important information about temperature changes and their effect on the food supply for all Antarctic animals. Such information may also indicate what new predators will come on the scene. And the Devil Toad may be a link to what actually happened when Africa and South America split up. Who knows? One may discover that the spider can actually eat devil toads!

For more about fossils, continental drift, toads, sea spiders, and the Antarctic, see the resource block for me, which appears at the end of this article.

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