Puget Sound King Crab

I found this spectacular animal in the high inter-tidal zone, quite fresh. Not sure how or why it was where it was… it seems intact and undisturbed. Regardless it deserves to be documented, and I have frozen it so the students can study it later.

It appears to be a Lopholithodes mandtii. Puget sound King Crab.

Note:  DO NOT COLLECT THIS CRAB!  It is uncommon in Puget Sound/Straits and the Washington Fish and Wildlife dept. lists it as a protected species.  Adults come up shallower to breed in late winter and spring.  This is one of the largest crabs on the Pacific Coast of the 48 states.  Carapace width can be up to 30 cm or more.  It feeds on sea urchins and other echinoderms, has been observed eating sea anemones.  Chelae are surprisingly cuplike, and lined with teeth and setae .  Juveniles are a bright orange with prominent tubercles on the carapace, and may occasionally be found under rocks at extremely low tide. (http://www.wallawalla.edu/academics/departments/biology/rosario/inverts/Arthropoda/Crustacea/Malacostraca/Eumalacostraca/Eucarida/Decapoda/Anomura/Family_Lithodidae/Lopholithodes_mandtii.html)