A Little Info on Dungeness Crab

Anatomy

Dungeness crab is a crustacean.  The body consists of a head, thorax, and abdomen.  The shell is referred to as the carapace.  The head and thorax are located under the carapace.  Dungeness crab have five pair of legs attached to the thorax.  The first two legs are called chelipeds as the other four pairs of legs behind are utilized for walking.  The claws of the Dungeness crab are for defense and eating food.  At the rear of the thorax is where you’ll find the abdomen.

Molting

Dungeness crabs go through a process called molting.  Molting is when they outgrow their shell and shed.  When a crab molts it leaves behind its old shell in which you sometimes will find washed up at your nearest beach.  The molting cycle can take between 2-3 weeks.

Growing New Legs

Have you wondered if a crab can reproduce a missing leg?  The answer is yes.  Dungeness crab can create a new leg as soon as it loses it.  It actually produces a tiny bud almost immediately.  When the new leg is developing, the molting cycle begins.  After a couple of molting cycles, the new limb is usually the size of the original leg.

Lifespan

Dungeness crabs typically live for 8 to 10 years and can grow up to 9 inches.  Adult males (2 years plus) can be kept as long as the shell length across the back is at least 6 ¼”.  Undersized crabs need to be returned to the ocean.  Female Dungeness crabs are not allowed to be landed.  These crabs too need to be returned to the ocean.



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