Crabs

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Graceful crabs can be identified by the white outline around the teeth of the carapace.  Also find the last and widest spine on the sides. The little notch just behind the last spine is another telltale sign that you are looking at a graceful crab.
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Graceful kelp crabs are also called decorator crabs because they literally decorate their noses (rostrums) with pieces of seaweed, etc. Their rostrums are wider than the northern kelp crab.
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Northern kelp crabs are smooth and sleek looking with more narrow rostrums and no “decorations.”
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Graceful kelp crab (left) next to a northern kelp crab.
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Red rock crabs are large brick red crabs with black tipped claws.  They can really pinch so be careful!
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Red Rock Crab – Look for a larger, bright red crab with stocky black tipped claws.
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Smaller Dungeness crabs can sometimes look like a graceful crab.  One way to tell the difference is to look at the last spine on their carapace. If the edge of the carapace is smooth from there to the back, it is a dungeness.  If there is a tiny notch just past the last spine, then it is a graceful.
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Dungeness Crab – Look for large muted colored crab. More slender than Red Rock Crab.
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Hairy Shore Crab – Most abundant crab. Very small. Many colors. Look under rocks.
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Bluehand or blueband hermit Crab – Look for beautiful deep blue band at the last joint near the tips of their legs
Hermit Crab 2
Grainyhand hermit crabs have raised dots on their legs and distinct red antennae
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Hairy hermit crabs have distinct banded antennae. Their legs often have fine hair and they may or may not be starting to show a light blue color as their leg surface deteriorates.
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Black clawed shore crab – look for  very large black or purple claws on what otherwise looks like a typical shore crab.
Porcelain Crab blue ready to molt
Blue porcelain crab or flattop porcelain crab

 

 

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