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Red King Crab Life Stages-a short course.

Red King Crab female with clutch of eggs  

A Female Red King Crab With An Egg Clutch Under Her Abdominal Flap.
The eggs are carried for approximately one year. Once the larvae are released in the early part of the year, the female will molt her carapace, mate, and immediately produce another egg clutch.

 
Red king crab eyed eggs  

A Ten- Month-Old Red King Crab Embryo.
The black ovals are eyespots on the developing crab and the yellowish mass is the yolk. The heartbeat becomes visible halfway through development.

 
Red king crab larva  

Red King Crab Larva – One To Ten Days Old.
After hatching, larvae stay in the water column through their four shrimp-like zoeal stages, each stage lasting around ten days. After the fourth stage, the zoeae molt to the glaucothoe stage.
Read more on crab molting.

 
Red king crab larva  

A Red King Crab Glaucothoe.
A glaucothoe looks like a tiny crab but it can extend its abdominal flap like a tail and swim. The glaucothoe stage is a transitional larval phase that lasts three to eight weeks. A glaucothoe continuously tests habitats until it finds a suitable settling spot. Then it molts into a small crab and loses its ability to swim.

 
Crab larvae [zoeaSmall.jpg]  

Microalgae Or Phytoplankton, Provide Crab Larvae With Nutrients Essential To Their Development And Survival.
Many crustacean larvae consume microalgae as part of their diet. The Kodiak Laboratory raises microalgae to include in the larval crab diets.
Read more on culturing larvae and microalgae.

 
Red king crab juvenile at 1 year  

One-Year-Old Lab-Raised Red King Crabs Clustered On A Hydroid.
These crabs were raised in the lab to test for substrate preference and settling behavior. The lab tests demonstrated that red king crab prefer to settle on hydroids and algae, rather than worm tubes, sand or mud.

 
Red king crab juvenile with penny  

Two-Year-Old Juvenile Red King Crab.
This crab will continue to molt and grow larger. At two-years old the juveniles raised in the Kodiak Laboratory are just about the size of a penny, like this crab hatched in early 2005 (this photo taken in February 2007). We do not know if the juveniles raised in the laboratory experience the same growth as in the wild.

 
NOAA Biologist holding an adult red king crab  

Adult Mature Male Red King Crab.
At around four or five years old the male red king crab will be developmentally mature enough to mate. At this point it is considered a mature or adult crab.


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