Canadian Marine Life Encyclopedia
Also known as
Dungles, market crab
Sub-polar & temperate waters of northeast Pacific, from the Aleutian Islands to southern California
Infraorder Brachyura (crabs with short “tail” hidden under the body); Family Cancridae (crabs, most
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Dungeness crabs are a crustacean species. Like all arthropods, they have an “exoskeleton” (a skeleton on the outside of their body), segmented body parts and jointed appendages. Because their skeleton is outside of their body, arthropods must grow a new exoskeleton and shed their old one as they grow; a process called molting. When people find empty Dungeness crab shells strewn along beaches, they often mistake them for dead crabs, when in fact they are the old exoskeletons of crabs that are still alive, but are now a little bit larger than before.