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Last Updated: Wednesday April 21 2010 13:02 GMT

Monster crab may pinch UK record

Spud the rare box crab

A giant deep-sea crab that wandered into the nets of a Cornish fisherman is probably the largest ever found in British waters, according to experts.

The rare box crab, who's been called Spud because of his potato-like body, measures 99cm long.

The previous holder was 119cm long but experts say Spud's missing a claw that would see him smash the record.

Until his missing claw grows back, Spud's being cared for at the Blue Reef Aquarium in Cornwall.

Box crabs are usually found three kilometres underwater, but Spud was caught at a depth of just 110 metres 80 miles west of The Scillies.

The crabs can grow up to 200cm long, but they're rarely seen in fishermen's nets because they prefer deeper waters.

It's hoped Spud will soon be well enough to go on display at the aquarium, but until then he's being fed up on a diet of rotten starfish.

Eyes on stalks

Aquarium spokesman Matt Slater said Spud was one of the oddest crabs he'd ever seen.

"It looks like something from another planet and has caused quite a stir among all the staff here," he said.

"It has weird eyes on stalks which look like bicycle handlebars and a strange pair of backward facing pincers."