Red Rock Crab     Cancer productus

This heavily armored crab stalks the shallow subtidal and intertidal zone looking for a variety of prey.  Food is both live items such as barnacles, small crab, snails and small clams as well as dead material.

It is easily recognized due to its large brick red shell and black tipped pinchers. Young Red Rock Crab are often brightly stripped. It's cousin, the Dungeness Crab, is larger and has a gray shell with more spikes on the margin of the shell. Often found in the same habitat is the Graceful Crab which looks like a small Dungeness Crab except it has reddish legs with white tipped pinchers.

Usually found on beaches consisting of sandy mud, sand or gravel, the Red Rock Crab patrols the beach when the tide is in and the burrows shallowly next to rocks or under seaweed as the tide recedes.  Normally this keeps the crab safe from the prying eyes of hunting sea gulls, but it can be deadly when the first hot day can bake them in place.

Be careful in handling this crab, as well as the Dungeness Crab, as their pinchers are powerful and can break the skin of the unwary.

See the Department of Fish and Wildlife rules and regulations for information on the harvest of this animal as well as other species of marine animals and plants.

See a video of the Red Rock crab filmed locally by Phil Sconce on YOUTUBE