New sea spider species found on Dutch coast

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The waters off the Dutch coast are home to a new species that has never before been sighted alive in in these waters. The Sea Spider, scientific name Endeis spinosa, was discovered on the seabed of Oosterschelde by divers in August, officially placing it on the indigenous marine fauna list, natuurbericht.nl reports.  Sea spiders do occur in various places on the Northwestern European coast, but have only been spotted in The Netherlands when the animals have washed up on the coast. This does not definitively mean that the animal occurs here naturally, as they may have drifted over from outside the Dutch coastal area on floating objects. When recreational divers discovered the animal live on the seabed, the creature was given the indigenous status. The sea spider is around 15 millimeters in size, and occurs in waters from the Norwegian coast up to the Mediterranean sea. There have only been limited sightings of the creature washed up on Dutch shores since 1950. In August of this year, various sightings have been reported by divers on the seabed in Oosterschelde. The creature's scientific name is Endeis spinosa. 'Spinosa' points to the small thorn-like protrusions that stand out on the creature's legs. The creature may be given a Dutch name now, as it has officially been placed on the Dutch indigenous marine species list. Natuurbericht.nl proposes the name 'Gedoornde zeespin', meaning 'Acanaceous sea spider'. Sea spiders as a species, Pycnogonida, occur exclusively in salt water environments. They belong to a separate class of arthropods that also classifies several insects, crabs and prawns. They are not real spiders, or arachnids. It is the male sea spider who carries the eggs after fertilization. Male sea spiders are distinguishable by an extra set of legs underneath their abdomens which they use to carry these egg sacks.

Many sea spider species are so small that they are difficult to spot with the naked eye. Other species living in deeper waters can grow up to 74 centimeters in size. There are more than 1000 sea spider species that have so far been discovered. In Dutch waters, however, there are only a handful. The Endeis spinosa has now been added to that list.

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