Pugettia producta is found within the rocky intertidal shores between Asuncino Point, Baja California all the way up to Alaska (Rudy et al. 1987).
Biogeographic Regions: nearctic (Native )
This particular family of crab has a unique, elongated carapace, looking like an upside down shovel with the handle end towards its mouth. It has four pairs of slender walking legs and a pair of modified legs called chelipeds. Their abdomen has seven segments.
The color of the crab is food-dependent, meaning that the color greatly depends on the type of algae they consume in their surrounding environment. This particular adaptation gives P. producta a natural camouflage. Mostly, the color is dark brown or olive green, but sometimes there is a mixture of the two colors. It can also be reddish orange; however, this coloring is usually found on the ventral side.
The carapace is smooth and not as hairy as the other crabs. Even in its own family, Majidae, Pugettia producta's legs appear to be smoother. Rarely do you see much debris attached to the outer surface. Their eyes are relatively close together compared to other species of crabs outside of its family.
The male has relatively larger chelipeds than the female. The males' legs are also shorter than the females' (Rudy et al.1987; Mohler et al.1997).
Range mass: 0 to 0 kg.
Other Physical Features: ectothermic ; bilateral symmetry
Pugettia producta can be found in dense kelp beds, and tide pools covered in surfgrass or algae. They can also descend to the depth of 40 fathoms.
Due to its wide range of locations, the temperature range which Pugettia producta can tolerate is somewhat greater than most marine organisms(Ricketts et al. 1985).
Aquatic Biomes: coastal
Habitat: Mostly in kelp beds, either on the bottom or climbing in the kelp (photo). Also common on pilings. Juveniles may be in tidepools or around surfgrass or Fucus.
Primarily, P. producta is a nocturnal vegetarian. In the low rocky intertidal, the crab can been seen in surfgrass beds eating Nereosystis (bull kelp), Ulva (sea cabbage), and Fucus (rockweed). P. producta will also eat barnacles, mussels, hydroids, and bryozoans when its primary food source, algae, is scarce (Rudy et al. 1987).
Life History and Behavior
Pugettia producta undergoes a terminal molt upon reaching sexual maturity. Gravid females, June to July, copulate by hard-shelled pairs. Soon, reddish-orange or yellow eggs develop underneath the female's abdomen. It is here that the eggs will stay for several months. Sometimes the eggs will remain for two generations or more before they develop into an adolescent crab (Rudy et al. 1987; Ricketts et al. 1985).
Conservation efforts for P. producta would include making sure that there are plenty of kelp beds around for everyone, including both the farmers and the crabs.
A conservative act that a person can do is to replace the surfgrass he pulls back. After looking throughout a pool that has surfgrass on top, it is critical that one puts it back in place because animals beneath the water need their shade. A person should definitely do this when a P. producta is sited.
US Federal List: no special status
CITES: no special status
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