Monday, November 2, 2009

A little bit of a late bloomer...


The Marine Exhibit is now closed (except for special Holiday weekends), but exciting things are still happening in the salty water. This Dungeness crab (Cancer magister) was releasing her eggs on Sunday afternoon. Usually these crabs lay eggs between spring and fall so this one is a little late.

Male dungeness crabs only will mate with females that have recently molted, the female will keep the sperm until her eggs are fully developed. After the female releases the eggs they will go through a series of free floating planktonic stages, molting, changing and growing for up to a year, they then settle to the bottom as little crabs and begin their rough life in the ocean! At about 4 or 5 these species can weigh 2-3lbs and measure 6.5 inches across. If they can escape traps long enough they can also live up to 13 years!

Make sure to come back to the Port Townsend Marine Science Center in the spring to catch some more egg laying action by our resident crabs and other animals!

Thanks for reading!

PTMSC Lab Coordinator,

Valerie

check out the resources:

www.adfg.state.ak.us/pubs/notebook/shellfsh/dungie.php



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