Lophopanopeus bellus bellus (Black-clawed crab)
2005 Mary Jo Adams
little black-clawed crab makes its home burrowed into the sand under
rocks, and also in tidepools or among kelp holdfasts. Its
carapace is up to 1 ½ inch across and has 3 lateral spines.
Carapace color is quite variable but is often reddish-brown,
gray, or purple; true to its common name, the claw tips are black.
The legs of this species sport a few fine hairs.
for this species low in the intertidal along the quiet waters of
bays and estuaries and also on beaches with some wave action.
It is found to a depth of 260 feet. The black-clawed
crab feeds on algae and plant material, mussels, barnacles, and
other crustaceans. Upon being picked up, this crab stiffens
into a rigor mortis like state but be careful because it can suddenly
revive and give you a good pinch!
crab most likely to be confused with the black-clawed crab is the
pygmy rock crab ( Cancer oregonensis ). Both are small
crabs with black tipped claws. To distinguish between the
two, look for the 3 lateral teeth along the edge of the carapace
of the black-clawed crab. The pygmy rock crab carapace is
more rounded, has more numerous teeth, and has very hairy legs.
This page was created by Mary Jo Adams on 12/5/05.