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Fish and Marine Life Illustrations

Kelp Crab Illustrated

kelp crab california science center

Kelp Crab (Pugettia producta), colored pencil

Commissioned by: California Science Center Foundation

About kelp crabs:
This illustration is based on the shield-backed kelp crab (Pugettia producta), also called the Northern kelp crab. It is located along rocky intertidal shores from Baja, California to Alaska.The shield-shaped piece on the back of the crab is called a "carapace". The projection at the front of the carapace is called a "rostrum". "Rostrum" is Latin for "beak". Kelp crabs eat kelp. In the winter, when the kelp dies back, they eat bryzoans, hydroids, and barnacles. The color of the crab changes depending upon what the crab is consuming.


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda (having a segmented body with appendages on each segment)
Subphylum: Crustacea (having 3 body parts: head, thorax, and abdomen/pleon) (includes crabs, shrimp, lobster, and crayfish having five pair of appendages and two pair of antennae)
Class: Malacostraca (trunks having 14 segments plus the tail or telson. 8 segments are thorax, 6 are abdomen)
Subclass: Eumalacostraca
Order: Decapoda
Suborder: Pleocymata
Infraorder: Brachyura
Family: Epialtidae
Genus: Pugettia
Species: P. producta

More about kelp crabs:
Intertidal Marine Invertebrates of the South Puget Sound: Pugettia producta
Animal Diversity Web: Pugettia producta (northern kelp crab)

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