Females attract males with a chemical that is released after eggs have hatched. The male then clasps onto the female and they remain connected until the female molts, and produces new eggs. Females mate once a year while males may mate multiple times each spring.
Mating System: polygynous
Female Alaskan king crabs mate immediately after the eggs hatch. During this process a male is attracted by a chemical that is released by the female. The male then clasps onto the female and holds her until she molts. The female and male may remain connected for up to 7 days. After molting the male uses his fifth pair of legs to spread spermatophores over the females opening. The females eggs are then released and pass over the spermatophores and become fertilized. These fertilized eggs are attached by the female to her pleopods under the abdomen and are incubated for approximately a year before hatching.
Breeding interval: Females breed once annually, while males can possibly mate with 11 females during the breeding season.
Breeding season: Alaskan King Crabs breed in the spring after migrating to water depths of 50 meters or less.
Range number of offspring: 150,000 to 400,000.
Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 5 to 6 years.
Range age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 5 to 6 years.
Key Reproductive Features: seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; fertilization (External )
Female Alaskan king crabs incubate eggs for 1 year, providing protection. Within days of hatching, the female begins incubating next group of eggs.
Parental Investment: pre-fertilization (Provisioning); pre-hatching/birth (Protecting: Female)
- Bliss, D. 1982. Shrimps, Lobsters, and Crabs. New Jersey: New Century Publishers INC.
- Forrest Blau , S., D. Kuklok , S. Compton . 2002. "Alaska King Crabs" (On-line ). ADF&G Wildlife Notebook Series. Accessed 03/17/03 at http://www.state.ak.us/local/akpages/FISH.GAME/notebook/shellfsh/kingcrab.htm.
- Jewett, S., C. Onuf. 1988. "Habitat Suitability Index Models: Red King Crab" (On-line ). Accessed 03/19/03 at http://www.nwrc.gov/wdb/pub/hsi/hsi-153.pdf.