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Fish MARINE RESOURCES
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Oregon Crab Species
Oregon Crab Species
Crab Identification


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Crab identification

Common | Occasionally Caught | Seldom Caught | Exotic/ Invasive | Shore | Nearshore | Deepwater

 Most common crabs to Oregon

Dungeness crab

Best identification characters:

  • White tipped claws
  • Ten carapace spines (widest at 10th)
  • Color reddish-brown to purple

ID Photo

Dungeness crab
Dungeness crab

Red rock crab

Best identification characters:

  • Black tipped claws
  • Wide “fan” shaped carapace
  • Color typically a deep brick red

ID Photo
More about red rock crab

Red rock crab
Red rock crab

 Occasionally caught crab

Kelp crab

Found: Among rocky areas and pilings in the lower estuary. Very common among kelp in nearshore ocean areas. Size 2-4"

Best identification characteristics:

  • Large claws
  • “Shield-shaped” carapace
  • Long “spidery” legs
  • Underside often a deep red color

ID Photo
More about kelp crab

Northern kelp crab
Kelp crab

Pacific rock crab

Found: among rocky areas and pilings in the lower estuary. Very common in rocky nearshore ocean. Size 3-5"

Best identification characters:

  • Black tipped claws
  • Wide “fan” shaped carapace
  • Color typically a deep brick red

ID Photo
More about pacific rock crab

Pacific rock crab
Pacific rock crab

 Other crab found in the estuary, seldom caught

Graceful kelp crab
Female Graceful kelp crab
Graceful kelp crab

Found: Among rocky areas and pilings in the lower estuary. Very common among kelp in nearshore ocean areas. Size ¾-1½ "

Best identification characteristics:

  • Large claws
  • “Shield-shaped” carapace
  • Long “spidery” legs
  • Underside often a deep red color

ID Photo

Graceful kelp crab
Male Graceful kelp crab

Slender crab

Found: infrequently in sandy areas in the estuary. Size 2-4"

Best identification characteristics:

  • White tipped claws
  • Widest at 9th carapace spine
  • Purplish legs
  • Smaller than adult Dungeness crab

ID Photo

Slender crab
Slender crab

Pygmy rock crab

Found: among rocky areas and pilings in the lower estuary. Very common in rocky nearshore ocean. Size 1-2"

Best identification characteristics:

  • Black tipped claws
  • Round carapace
  • Hairy legs
  • Small size

ID Photo

Pygmy rock crab
Pygmy rock crab

 Exotic/ invasive crab to Oregon

Green crab

Found: In the shallow areas of the upper estuaries, usually not in good crabbing areas. Size 2-4" If found: Bring in to local ODFW office.

Best identification characteristics:

  • 3 bumps between eyes
  • 5 spines on each side of carapace
  • Color is variable, but usually with green and yellow colors on top of carapace and some red color in the leg joints on the under side.

ID photo
More information about green crab

Green crab
Green crab

Harris mud crab

Found: Very high (intertidal) up in large bays (Coos, Yaquina), burrowed into mud or under rocks. Size ½-1 " If found: Bring in to local ODFW office.

Best identification characteristics:

  • Claws usually unequally sized
  • Notch between eyes NOT prominent
  • Four spines on each side of carapace
  • Small crab (<20 mm carapace with)

ID photo

Harris mud crab
Harris mud crab

Chinese mitten crab

Found: Chinese mitten crab are currently NOT found in Oregon, if ever found it would most likely be in areas of high freshwater influence. If found: Bring in to local ODFW office.

Best identification characteristics:

  • Hairy claws
  • Notch between eyes
  • 4 spines on each side of carapace

ID photo

mitten crab
Chinese mitten crab

 Shore crab

Purple shore crab

Found: among rocks in the lower estuary and tide pools. Size 1-2"

Best identification characteristics:

  • Purple / red spotted claws
  • Soft tissues on at base of claws
  • 3 spines on each side of carapace
  • Legs without hairs
  • occasionally green (photo)

ID photo

Purple shore crab
Purple shore crab

Yellow shore crab

Found: among rocks and mud throughout the estuary. Size ¾-1½ "

Best identification characteristics:

  • usually mottled green/yellow with dark spots
  • occasionally variable coloring (white)
  • legs hairy

ID photo

Yellow shore crab
Yellow shore crab

Lined shore crab

Found: among rocks and mud throughout the estuary. Size 1-2"

Lined shore crab
Lined shore crab

Black clawed crab

Found: among rocks and mud throughout the estuary. Size ¾-1¼ "

 

 

ID photo

Black clawed crab
Black clawed crab

 Selected nearshore ocean crab (intertidal to 250 feet deep)

Spiny lithode crab

Best identification characteristics:

  • Claws usually orange
  • Legs banded
  • Leg dactyls black
  • Body covered in spines and hairs

ID photo

spiny lithode
Spiny lithode crab

Butterfly crab

Best identification characteristics:

  • Rostrum flat or rounded
  • Crapace bumpy and rough
  • Stripe dividing carapace often evident
  • Legs wrinkly

ID photo

Butterfly crab
Butterfly crab

Cryptic kelp crab

Best identification characteristics:

  • Claw tips white
  • Setae on rostrum, normally decorated
  • Lateral carapace teeth strongly curved and aimed forward

ID photo

cryptic kelp crab
Cryptic kelp crab

Sharpnose crab

Best identification characteristics:

  • Often covered in encrusting invertebrates
  • Rostrum is two short flat plates
  • Legs shor and round

ID photo

 

sharpnose crab
Sharpnose crab

 Selected deepwater crab (250 feet and deeper)

Spiny king crab

Best identification characteristics:

  • Three rows of paird spines anterior to forked rostrum

ID photo

spiny king
Spiny king crab

Oregon hair crab

Best identification characteristics:

  • Right claw often larger than the left
  • Carapace covered in shor spines
  • Long rounded legs
  • Short rostrum

ID photo

Oregon hair crab
Oregon hair crab

Brown box crab

Best identification characteristics:

  • Respritory holes on lower claws
  • Three walking legs
  • Prominent spine on top of carapace

ID photo

Brown box crab
Brown box crab
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