Placetron wosnessenskii Schalfeew, 1892
Common name(s): Scaled crab
|Synonyms: Lepeopus forcipatus|
|Placetron wosnessenskii, subtidal from 20m depth, Sares Head. Carapace width about 6 cm.|
|(Photo by: Dave Cowles July 1997)|
How to Distinguish from Similar Species: At first glance this crab looks superficially like the helmet crab Telmessus cheiragonus or even like the shield-back kelp crab Pugettia producta (both Brachyurans), but can be distinguished by the wide, soft abdomen, the scale-like appearance, and the modified 5th leg characteristic of Anomurans.
Geographical Range: Pribilof Islands to Puget Sound
Depth Range: Shallow subtidal to 110 m
Habitat: Vertical rock faces and overhangs associated with Metridium senile or Metridium giganteum, among boulders.
Biology/Natural History: Have been observed
eating brittle stars. Predators of this species include river otter.
The abdomen of the female is mostly covered with plates (photo); that of the male is soft
with vestigial plates (photo).
We have sometimes observed this crab sheltering under the anemone Cribrinopsis fernaldi (photo).
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O'Clair and O'Clair, 1998
This gravid female found subtidally on Sares Head is 7 cm across the carapace. Photo by Dave Cowles, July 2012. See more photos of her below.
The underside of this female's abdomen is soft in part of it but has a rounded, hardened shield across the tip. She is carrying eggs (see below). Photo by Dave Cowles, July 2012
This is the same female as shown above. She is highly defensive of her abdomen but the crevice seen in this view shows that she is carrying many bright orange eggs.