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Metacarcinus magister   (Dana, 1852)

Dungeness crab

Native range | All suitable habitat | Point map | Year 2100
This map was computer-generated and has not yet been reviewed.
Metacarcinus magister   AquaMaps   Data sources: GBIF OBIS
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Classification Common names | Synonyms | CoL | ITIS | WoRMS

Malacostraca | Decapoda | Cancridae

Main reference References | Biblio | Coordinator | Collaborators

Shirley, S.M., T.C. Shirley and S.D. Rice. 1987. (Ref. 8391)

Size / Weight / Age

Max length : 22.5 cm CW male/unsexed; (Ref. 865); max. reported age: 10 years (Ref. 104779)


Benthic; brackish; depth range 0 - 360 m (Ref. 865)

Climate / Range

Temperate; 3°C - 19°C (Ref. 104779); 61°N - 23°N, 179°W - 110°W

Distribution Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Introductions

Eastern Pacific: Aleutian Islands, Alaska to Magdalena Bay, Mexico. Subtropical to boreal.

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

Epibenthic in estuaries and nearshore environments (Ref. 104211). It is found on soft bottoms in very low intertidal areas to a depth of 360 meters (Ref. 865). Found on seagrasses (Refs. 104216, 106869). Juveniles inhabit and forage on estuaries, particularly in oyster reefs, oyster beds, and eelgrass (Ref. 104211). Life cycle: The fertilized egg hatches into prezoeae larva and molts into zoea an hour after. The larvae undergo five zoeal stages before molting into megalopae. The megalopae molts into juvenile stage before further molting (at most 12 times) into adult stage (Ref. 104779). Mating behavior: Precopulatory courtship ritual is common (through olfactory and tactile cues); usually indirect sperm transfer (Ref. 833). Males locate premolt females through a pheremonal homing system. Male holds the female in an embrace for at most 7 days prior to the female's molting. An hour after molting, copulation occurs through insertion of male gonopods into the spermathecae of the female to deposit sperm (indirect sperm transfer). The female may then be embraced again for 2 days. Pre- and post-mating embraces are done to protect females from predation, aside from insuring mating success. Mating occurs in estuaries but spawning takes place offshore (Ref. 104779). Crabs can store and utilize sperm for at least 2 years. Eggs are fertilized as they pass through the spermathecae during extrusion (Ref. 104787).

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 114614)


CITES status (Ref. 94142)

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans

Human uses

Fisheries: commercial
FAO(fisheries: production) | FisheriesWiki | Sea Around Us

More information


Internet sources

BHL | BOLD Systems | Check for other websites | Check FishWatcher | CISTI | DiscoverLife | FAO(fisheries: species profile; publication : search) | GenBank (genome, nucleotide) | GOBASE | Google Books | Google Scholar | Google | ispecies | PubMed | Scirus | Sea Around Us | FishBase | Tree of Life | uBio | uBio RSS | Wikipedia (Go, Search) | Zoological Record

Estimation of some characteristics with mathematical models

Price category (Ref. 80766)
Very high