- California crab
About Dungeness (California Crab)
The pride of the Pacific coast, Dungeness crab can be found all the way from Alaska to Mexico. This large crab can range from 1 to almost 4 pounds; its pink flesh is succulent and sweet.
Its latin name is Cancer magister. It lives in bays and inlets, around estuaries, and on the continental shelf. Although it is sometimes found on mud and gravel, this crab is most abundant on sandy bottoms, and in shallow waters around eelgrass. They also require cooler temperature waters. Crabs can only grow by periodic shedding of their shell in a process called moulting, Young crabs, which put all their energy reserves into body growth, moult more frequently and to a relatively larger size than adult crabs, which devote more of their energy to reproduction. Adult males and females in a population tend to moult at different times, so that the males will be hard-shelled and able to mate when the females moult. Live prey such as clams, other crustaceans, and small fish are the crab's preferred food. Crabs use their claws to tear apart large food items and their smaller feeding appendages to pass food to the mouth, where pieces are crushed by two hard mandibles. Crab predators include other crab species, halibut, dogfish, sculpins, octopus and sea otters.