Crustaceans, Pacific Northwest
The Puget Sound King Crab is also known as the box crab, they are not very common in the Pacific Northwest but occasionally, one comes up in a trap. They are an amazing crab to see, almost looks like a monster from some horror movie, but l find them to be beautiful to look at.
These crabs look like they did millions of years ago, meaning that they are so adapted to their environment that there has been little need to evolve much. Fascinating creatures for sure. Their carapace reaches around 30 cm at the adult stage, although some have been pulled up that were much larger than that.
Look for the Puget Sound King Crab at the inter tidal area at low tide, you might get lucky and see one but you are more likely to see them from 30 meters to around 140 meters deep.
They have four large bumps on a square bumpy box like body, short and stubby legs and are a bright reddish orange to purple color. Juveniles are a bright orangey red that is consistent over their whole body. They are also known as a box crab. These creatures are beautiful to look at and fascinating to watch.
During the winter months, the Puget Sound king crab will move from deep waters to shallower waters to molt and mate. They can only mate when the female crab has molted and has a soft shell. After she has molted and mated the female returns to deeper water and carries the up to 186,000 eggs with her for a year. Meanwhile, the male and the juveniles remain in shallow waters and will molt during the summer months, and then they will return in autumn. During spring, the females will spend 12-14 days hatching her eggs, and the larvae will spend 2 months in plankton beds before settling at the bottom where they spend the rest of their lives. They reach sexual maturity at 7 yrs of age, how long they live is still anyone’s guess.