North Island Explorer: Guide to North Vancouver Island






Shield-backed Kelp Crab


Kelp Crab (Pugettia Producta)

Other Names: Northern Kelp Crab, Shield-backed Kelp Crab, Spider Crab.


Photo 1: Two kelp crabs among the seaweed.

This crab is characterized by long spindly legs with body coloration ranging from bright red to an olive green that exactly matches its favourite habitat, kelp. Kelp beds also provide an important source of food for these crabs in the summer months, In the winter, when the kelp dies off, this crab may turn carnivorous eating small animals such as barnicles. This crab is preyed upon by birds, sea otters, some fish, and octopuses.  (Taken at Shelter Point Reef)





Photo 2: Kelp crab at Shelter Point.

This crab assumes an aggressive posture when threatened. Beware! Its long pincers have no trouble reaching around back and pinching anyone who might grab it the way you would typically grab other crabs. I discovered this firsthand while kayaking through a kelp bed and grabbing a monster kelp crab that was sitting on top. (Taken at Shelter Point Reef)









Two kelp crabs.

Kelp crab


































Other Pacific Northwest Crabs: Black-clawed Crab, Red Rock Crab, Porcelain Crab