Cryptic Kelp Crab

Cryptic Kelp Crab

Pugettia richii

Physical Description

The Cryptic Kelp Crab, Pugettia richii, has a carapace measuring 3-4 cm across, somewhat diamond-shaped with prominent lateral spines. Its color ranges from brownish to scarlet, with curved horn-like teeth on the lateral carapace and white tips on claws. It decorates its rostrum with red algae.

Habitat and Geographical Range

Abundant along the eastern Pacific coast, Cryptic Kelp Crabs are well-camouflaged among red algae and sessile invertebrates. They are commonly found in kelp forests and rocky reefs, climbing kelp fronds and reproductive fronds of Stephanocystis at night.

What They Eat and How They Breed

Cryptic Kelp Crabs are omnivorous, feeding on algae, detritus, and small invertebrates. They reproduce sexually, with females carrying fertilized eggs until hatching into planktonic larvae.

Physical Threat to Humans

Cryptic Kelp Crabs do not pose a physical threat to humans. However, they may use their claws for defense if handled, so it’s advisable to avoid provoking them.

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