Juvenile Red Rock Crab (Cancer productus)

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Coldwater Marine Aquatics recommends you keep these animals in 55F-60F water.


Cancer productus, one of several species known as the red rock crab, is a crab of the genus Cancer found on the western coast of North America. Juveniles may be variously patterned.

Cancer productus has carapace teeth that are somewhat broad and rounded with teeth between the eyes of nearly equal size and shape. The carapace of C. productus is widest at the posterior-most tooth, up to 20.0 cm wide. The pincers are large with distinctive black tips. This species lacks serrations or projections on the ventral side of the claws. Adults have a brick-red coloration throughout. The coloration of juveniles is diverse, often white, sometimes with red spots, or zebra-striped.

Range and habitat

C. productus ranges from Kodiak Island, Alaska to Isla San Martine, Baja California. It inhabits mid-intertidal waters to 79 m depth.


Cancer productus is carnivorous; in Puget Sound it will crush barnacles with its large pincers for consumption. Small living crabs and dead fish are also eaten. Mating in this species occurs when the female is soft-shelled from October to June in Puget Sound. The male can often been seen guarding females until molting during this time. This species is known to be a favorite prey item of Enteroctopus dofleini, the giant Pacific octopus.


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