TAXONOMY

 

Kingdom:  Animalia

Phylum:     Arthopoda

Class:          Malacostraca

Order:        Decapoda

Family:      Epialtidae

Genus/species;  Pugettia producta

 

GENERAL CHARACTERISTICS

 Mostly dark brown to green varying depending on the type of algae consumed. Like other members of its family, noted for its unique, elongated carapace with extended rostrum like an upside down shovel with the handle end towards its mouth. and four pairs of relatively long, slender walking legs. Because of these features, the family common name is “spider crabs.”

Most crabs in this family are called masking crabs; they attach fragments of shells and algae to their carapace for camouflage. P.producta, a large active crab, maintains a clean surface, perhaps for ease of movement.  It is a feisty animal; long legs are dextrous, and claws pinch hard.

DISTRIBUTION/HABITAT

 Alaska to Baja California in rocky intertidal in kelp beds and tidepools with abundant surfgrass or algae.  The crab uses the vegetation as protection from  sun and predators. Subtidal to 70 m (230 ft).

 DIET IN WILD

Mainly a nocturnal vegetarian feeding on bull kelp, sea lettuce, rockweed and other kelp. Occasionally will take barnacles, mussels, hydroids, and bryozoans in winter when vegetation is scarce.

 REPRODUCTION

Reproduction and Development: Females usually mate June to July, though can mate year round. Fertilized eggs develop for several months underneath the female’s abdomen.

 PREDATORS

 

Preyed upon by sculpins, gulls, cabezon, and sea otters among others.

LOCATION: CC15  TIDEPOOL

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