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Dungeness Crab

Dungeness crab

About Dungeness crab
The Dungeness crab is scientifically named as Metacarcinus magister and formerly is called as Cancer magister. These species of crab inhabit eelgrass beds and water bottoms of North America. The Dungeness crab or Cancer magister gets its universal name from the city of Dungeness. The Dungeness crab is the only commercially significant crab in the state of Washington's territorial waters and was the first shellfish cultivated commercially on the North Pacific Coast.

Distribution
The Dungeness crab is named after Dungeness, Washington which is located approximately six miles north of Sequim. Its range extends from Alaska Aleutian Islands to California. Dungeness crab has newly been found in the Atlantic Ocean, far from their identified range, raising apprehension about their possible effects on the local animals.

Size and Physical features
While crabs measuring 11 inches across the back have been taken off the coast of Washington.. The crab seldom exceeds by 9 inches and on average meausures just less than 6 inches of shell width. The Dungeness crab has whitish-tipped claws and a brownish color shell. Dungeness crabs have a broad, extended, solid shell, which they must occasionally molt to grow. This procedure is called ecdysis. They have five pairs of legs, which are likewise armored, the leading pair of which ends in claws that the crab uses for both purpose such as protection and to split apart big foodstuff. The crab uses its minor appendages to bypass the food particles into its mouth. Once it goes within the crab's stomach, foodstuff is further digested by the gastric mill. A group of tooth-like Dungeness crabs can also hide themselves totally in the sand if threatened. The safest place to grasp the Dungeness crab is its back. Though the hind part of the crab is generally used to pick up the crab, their claws can occasionally reach the holder's hand.

Dungeness crabs Breeding
They usually breed from May to July. This is the most regular months in which mating occur, though it may occur at other time of the year. Mating takes place between solid shelled male crabs and newly-molted or soft-shelled female crabs. The female preserves the sperm in a seminal receptacle until the fall when the eggs are fertilized. Females cannot molt herself in the fall when the male does because she loses the sperm receptacle at that moment. When the eggs are extruded, the consequential mass, often called as sponge, is attached to the female. A big female may bear in excess of two million eggs. Females carrying eggs generally cover themselves in sandy razor clam beaches throughout the fall.

Habitat and Range
The Dungeness crab live in eel-grass beds and filthy to sandy bottoms, from the low inertial zone to depths in excess of 650 ft. They can be seen in the Aleutian Islands to south of San Francisco.

Diet and Predators
The Dungeness crab nourishes themselves on a wide range of marine forms. Stomachs of ocean crabs have been found to hold clams, crabs and marine fish, as well as other stuff, including starfish, squid, snails, worms and also eggs from fish or crabs. The Dungeness crab is also cannibalistic.