A series of images allegedly show a giant sea spider which was discovered in Antarctic waters. Are these photos real or fake?
The photos show a movie prop.
Let’s first take a look at what has circulated for nearly three years. In a story that first appeared back in mid-2013, we read:
Scientists recently discovered the body of a giant sea spider like organism in antarctic waters. The origin of this species is unknown, and it is unclear whether or not there are more of these terrifying creatures roaming the oceans.
The text above was included in the meme below, which began with the headline, “Nope Nope Nope Nope.”
The images in the meme above do not depict a newly-discovered species of sea spider, but a man-made movie prop. Fans of the Alien movies were quick to identify the creature above as a “facehugger.” This particular image shows a “queen facehugger” created for scene that did not make the final cut of the 1992 film Alien 3. Below is an image of the same prop during its creation.
You can also find the same images above on websites which pre-date the phony “antarctic spider” story, such as this website devoted to Alien 3, or this this forum discussing the prop. Fans of the series have stated that the queen facehugger’s scene can be seen an extended cut of the film which, which was deleted from the film’s theatrical release. You can also view a set of Alien prop photos here, which includes the same “sea spider” mentioned above.
It appears that the fake “sea spider” story was inspired by a real report of giant sea spiders spotted in Antarctic waters back in 2008. That story described sea spiders “the size of dinner plates” but did not include any images of the creatures.
Here is a more recent set of photos of Antarctic creatures, including sea spiders. A 2008 article from National Geographic notes that a 9.8 inch “sea spider” was found from the Ross Sea shelf in southern Antarctica during a 35-day census in 2008.
Photos allegedly showing newly-discovered giant sea spiders actually depict a movie prop for the film Aliens 3. There are large and mysterious sea spiders which have been discovered in Antarctica in recent years, although they don’t resemble the movie prop shown above.
Updated January 18, 2016
Originally published May 2014