Puget Sound King Crab

Puget Sound King Crab17″x24″

Puget Sound King Crab
Lopholithodes mandtii


Friday Harbor Marine Laboratories, University of Washington
San Juan Island, Washington

Archival Pigment Print

The Puget Sound king crab is a cousin of the red, blue, and golden crabs—three species collectively known as Alaskan king crabs and the basis for a major commercial fishery. While the carapace of the Puget Sound species can reach sizes comparable to those of the Alaskan ones (30 centimeters [12 inches] across), its legs—the crab parts most valued by human predators—are relatively small and short. The colorful animal in the photograph here stands out against a white background, but in its natural habitat, the crab is surprisingly well camouflaged among the encrusting algae and invertebrates that cover the surrounding rocks.