Early (instar I and II) juveniles of the spider crab Hyas araneus were reared under constant conditions (12 degree C, 32 ppt S) in the laboratory, and their growth, biochemical composition, and respiration were studied. Every second day, dry weight (W), ash-free dry weight (AFW), and contents of ash, organic and inorganic carbon (C), nitrogen (N), hydrogen (H), protein, chitin, lipid, and carbohydrates were measured, as well as oxygen consumption. Changes in the absolute amounts of W, AFW, and C, N, and H during the moulting cycle are described with various regression equations as functions of age within a given instar. These patterns of growth differ in part from those that have been observed during previous studies in larval stages of the same and some other decapod species, possibly indicating different growth strategies in larvae and juveniles. There were clear periodic changes in ash (% of W) and inorganic C (as % of total C), with initially very low and then steeply increasing values in postmoult, a maximum in intermoult, and decreasing figures during the premoult phase of each moulting cycle.