Coastal Crabs: Atlantic Rock Crab

Photo of Atlantic Rock Crab remains

My experience with coastal crabs is limited -- I most frequently find their dead bodies or molted shells on beaches, or witness them coming to an end in the mouth of a crustacean-eating bird, like a Common Loon, Common Eider, or Herring Gull. The widespread Atlantic Rock Crab (Cancer irroratus) pictured here is an edible species who ranges from shallow tide pools to deep ocean waters.  Atlantic Rock Crabs have more sharply pointed spines and generally smaller claws than similar Jonah Crabs (C. borealis). The Species ID card offered by the Gulf of Maine Research Institute explains how to tell these two crab species apart.

Photo of Atlantic Rock Crab shell

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