Infraorder Thalassinidea (ghost and mud shrimps)
Callianassa californiensis (bay ghost shrimp)
This whitish crayfish-like
organism can be found up to 12 cm in length. Its carapace is smooth with
unequal-sized pincers. They are found in abundance, burrowing in sand and
mud flats of bays and estuaries.
Infraorder Anomura (hermit, porcelain and mole crabs)
Pagurus hemphilli (middle tide zone hermit crab)
This hermit crab is characterized by the wrist of its
big claw bending at a sharp angle, and the brownish red dots with blue
granules on its carapace.
Pagurus hirsutiusculus (hairy-legged hermit crab)
Found in quiet waters, this small hairy creature varies
up to 7 cm in length. It has a brown body and white or bluish white bands
on its legs. Hermit crabs find their home in shells of snails.
Pagurus samuelis (high tide zone hermit crab)
hermit crabs have a pair of small scarlet antennae and bright blue bands
at the tips of the feet. They are commonly found living in the high tidal
zone in the empty shells of the black turban snail. Similar to property
owing Americans, they will fight for possession of these shells with other
Infraorder Brachyura (true crabs)
Cancer productus (red cancer crab)
buried under rocks in sandy areas, this tasty creature (a staple of seafood
restaurants) has a distinctive brick-red carapace up to 16 cm wide. This creature dominates
the beaches at night feeding in the lower tidal zone.
Hemigraspus nudus (purple shore crab)
Slightly larger than its cousin Pachygrapsus
crassipes, this shore crab has a carapace that varies up to 6 cm
in width in males and 4 cm in females. The body is usually purple, sometimes
greenish yellow or reddish brown in color with purple or red spots on the
Pachygrapsus crassipes (lined shore crab)
Smaller than its
cousin Hemigraspus nudus, the carapace
is up to 5 cm wide and is usually green in color with wavy white lines
or stripes. It
can also be dark red or another color variation and may be with or without
stripes. It has a squat, flat, squarish body. Unlike other crabs, Pachygrapsus
crassipes can scurry away sideways or backwards in response to danger.
Pugettia gracilis (graceful kelp crab)
Smaller than its cousin Pugettia
producta, the carapace of this crab measures up to 4 cm wide and
is brown, yellow, or red in color. The graceful appearance of this crab
in contrast to Pugettia producta is
the source of its common name; however, it does not lack the same powerful
claws or dangerous spines.
Pugettia producta (shield blacked kelp crab)
Commonly found on kelp, the carapace of this crab measures
up to 9 cm wide. Its shell is smooth and shield-shaped. It ranges from
reddish or olive brown in color and has slim but powerful claws. Along
its legs and carapace are sharp spines that are for clinging to the seaweed
on which it feeds.