The Dungeness crab is one of the seafood dishes that are most frequently ordered in Washington. From the Aleutian Islands to Mexico, fishermen catch this crab with a hard shell. The tips of the claws are normally white, and the shell has a purple tint and is either gray or brown on the rear. The Dungeness crab’s back can measure 10 inches wide, although 6 to 7 inches are more typical. This crab is most prevalent in Puget Sound north of Seattle, in Hood Canal, and close to the Pacific coast. The Dungeness crab loves sandy or muddy surfaces and is commonly found near eelgrass beds.
The red rock crab, also known as red crab or rock crab, is smaller than the Dungeness but comparable to it. This species is distinguished by its huge claws and often measures less than 6 inches across the back. Red rock crab flesh is equally as delicious as Dungeness crab meat, despite being less meaty. Because to the presence of black on the ends of its claws and due to its red coloring, it may be recognized from the Dungeness. Like its name suggests, the red rock crab favors rocky soils.
King crab or box crab
A picture shows a white barnacle-covered, bright red, spiky king crab perched on a ruler
King crab of Puget Sound (Lopholithodes mandtii)
The box crab and its near relative, the king crab, are two deepwater species that occasionally exist in Puget Sound and also occur in deep water off the coast. The latter is distinguished from the Alaskan king crab that is commercially harvested due of its smaller size when fully grown (up to 10 inches broad).
Divers are more likely to see these crabs than fishermen using pots. Both have spines and wart-like tubercles covering them, and when their legs and claws are folded against the body, they resemble a rough box. The entrance or foramen that is produced by symmetrical semicircular notches in the claws and initial walking legs gives the box crab its name. Water enters the gill chamber through this rounded hole when the legs are folded securely. This aperture is not present in the king crab.
Washington beaches are home to a number of different types of small coastal crabs. Contrary to popular belief, they are not the young of bigger ocean crabs but rather a different species that is smaller in size. You can locate tiny, black or gray, hairy beach crabs under most rocks on the Puget Sound coastlines, ranging in size from less than a fingertip to roughly the size of a half-dollar. These belong to the Hemigrapsus nudus and Hemigrapsus oregonensis species.
An accurate definition of a soft-shell crab
Crabs are an example of an animal class known as arthropods, which have an external “shell” that supports their skeleton. Growth is challenging because a new, bigger shell must grow once the old one is shed. Throughout the crab’s lifetime, this process, known as molting, takes place several times. By the age of two, dungeness crabs molt roughly 12 times, and thereafter once a year until the age of six.