Species and Habitat Outlines

Dungenes Crab

Generalized life cycle of the Dungeness crab: Mature female crabs generally molt between May-August, and mating occurs immediately after the female has molted and before the new exoskeleton hardens. In October or November, eggs are fully developed and the eggs are extruded and fertilized. Eggs remain attached to the female's abdomen until hatching in late winter. Females are often buried in sand as the eggs develop. The larval phase, lasting about 4 months, consists of five zoeal and one megalopa stages. From May to September, megalopae settle and metamorphise into the first post-larval instar. Juvenile crabs remain in lower intertidal or shallow subtidal waters and overwinter as less than 70 mm crabs, sometimes in shallow water. As one year olds, they may grow to about 120 mm. As they grow, they tend to move into progressively deeper water. Adult crabs may live to over 10 years and reach a maximum carapace width of 230 cm and maximum weight of 2 kg.

Return to Species Index