Ocean Life in Alaska









Snow Crab

Snow Crab
Chionoecetes opilio

Where do snow crabs live?

Snow crabs live along the continental shelf at depths less than 200 m in the Bering Sea, the Chukchi Sea, and in the western Atlantic Ocean as far south as Maine; they are not present in the Gulf of Alaska. In recent years, large numbers have been found in the Barents Sea.


What do snow crabs eat?

Snow crabs diets vary with their age and how deep they live. Larvae feed primarily on phytoplankton. Juveniles and adults will eat almost anything but mainly eat bivalves, polychaete worms, gastropods, crabs (including other snow crab), shrimp, and fish.


How do snow crabs reproduce?

Snow crabs mate every year in late winter to early spring. A cool thing about female snow crabs is their ability to store sperm so they can fertilize egg clutches whenever they are ready. Individual females will carry between 6,000 and 140,000 eggs for almost 2 years before the larvae spawn.