Emerald Sea Photography
Always colorful and a favorite of underwater photographers, the Puget Sound King Crab (Lopholithodes mandtii) is the largest crab that can be found in the Puget Sound area. Adults are red with yellow, orange and purple markings and cone shaped projections on their carapace, which can be twelve inches across.
These large crabs range from Sitka, Alaska, as far south as Montery, in California. Their depth varies with the season, tending to be deep in the summer (down to 2000 feet) and fall months, but shallow (60 feet or less) in late winter and spring for breeding. One interesting feature is that they have only 3 pairs of walking legs rather than the four pair associated with most crabs.
These delightful crabs feed on sea urchins and and sea anemones, and are actually somewhat hard to spot. Even with the bright colors, they blend in with the sponges and hydrocorals of their preferred habitat very well. The best place to spot and photograph Puget Sound King Crabs is in and around the San Juan Islands. Sometimes confused with the Box Crab, the King Crab has semi-circular indentations on it's claws and front legs which can be used to positively identify the species.