Lophopanopeus bellus subspecies bellus (Stimpson, 1860)
Common name(s): Black-clawed crab, Black-clawed pebble crab, Northern black-clawed crab
|Synonyms: Xantheo bella, Lophoxanthus bellus|
|Lophopanopeus bellus bellus from Swirl Rocks. Carapace width approximately 3 cm.|
|(Photo by: Dave Cowles, July 2000)|
How to Distinguish from Similar Species: Lophopanopeus bellus subspecies diegensis is subtidal in our area and has prominent tubercles on the carpus of the chelopeds, whereas subspecies bellus has a smooth carpus. The cancrid crab Cancer oregonensis is of similar size and carapace shape, hides under rocks, and has black claw tips but the Cancer crabs have a more truly oval carapace and have 5 teeth between the eyes.
Geographical Range: Aleutian Islands, Alaska to San Luis Obispo County, CA; rare in southern part of the range.
Depth Range: Intertidal to 80 m
Habitat: Under rocks, especially on gravel, both in protected waters and on the open coast; and on kelp holdfasts.
Biology/Natural History: This species is onmivorous, and feeds on algae, small mollusks, and barnacles. Sometimes captured individuals extend and lock their claws when handled. Eggs are carried beginning in March and hatch from May to August in British Columbia. Many females produce 2 broods per year, with 6,000 to 36,000 eggs per brood. May be parisitized by a Rhizocephalan Sacculinid barnacle (At Sitka, Alaska perhaps 25% of the crabs are parasitized). I have not found this high a percent parasitism in the Puget Sound area. Fossils of this species have been found in Pleistocene deposits in Playa del Rey, southern California. This species has 124 chromosomes (62 pairs).
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Brown and Rovetta, 1996
McConnaughey and McConnaughey, 1986
Morris et al., 1980
O'Clair and O'Clair, 1998
Ricketts et al., 1985