Crustaceans | Crustacea

Crustaceans | Crustacea

Description
Description

Crustaceans, belonging to the class Crustacea, are a diverse group of arthropods that include familiar creatures like crabs, lobsters, shrimp, and barnacles. With a fossil record dating back to the Cambrian period, over 500 million years ago, they have evolved into an estimated 67,000 species inhabiting a range of environments from deep ocean trenches to freshwater streams and even terrestrial habitats. Characterized by a hard exoskeleton, two pairs of antennae, and multiple pairs of limbs, crustaceans play crucial roles in aquatic ecosystems as both predators and prey. Their varied life cycles and adaptations have made them a fascinating subject of study in evolutionary biology.

Anatomy
Anatomy

Crustaceans are intriguing creatures with a hard exoskeleton that protects their body and provides support. This exoskeleton must be shed periodically in a process called molting for the crustacean to grow. They have jointed limbs, which give them the flexibility to move, feed, and defend themselves. Their bodies are usually divided into segments with a head, thorax, and abdomen. Many have two pairs of antennae that they use for sensing their environment. Crustaceans don't "speak," but some can make sounds by rubbing parts of their body together. They also have complex eyes, often on stalks, providing a broad field of vision, crucial for navigation and finding food.

Human Interaction
Human Interaction

Humans have long been fascinated by crustaceans, both as a source of sustenance and as curious creatures of the sea. From the succulent lobsters and crabs gracing our dining tables to the charming animated portrayals in films like "Finding Nemo," crustaceans have a prominent place in our culture. They also play crucial roles in marine ecosystems, contributing to the health of underwater environments.

Recognizing their importance, conservation efforts have been initiated to protect their habitats from pollution and overfishing. Sustainable fishing practices and marine sanctuaries aim to ensure that crustaceans continue to thrive, maintaining their essential role in our oceans and culture.

Common Questions
Common Questions
What do crustaceans eat?

The diet of a crustacean depends on its size as well as species. Small terrestrial species typically eat matter from decaying organic matter. Parasitic crustaceans eat blood and skin materials from their host animal. Small aquatic crustaceans eat microscopic organisms, algae, and plankton while larger crustaceans eat snails, plants, and eggs of other marine life.

How do crustaceans breath?

Crustaceans breath oxygen and use the same respiratory system as fish by breathing oxygen through their gills. Gills are very similar to lungs, but the difference is that gills pull the oxygen from water and not air as lungs do.

Where do most crustaceans live?

Some crustacean species live in freshwater, while most prefer salt water and live in the ocean. Most crustacean species tend to live close to the shore. Specifically, woodlice and crabs live on land while prawns and shrimp in open water.

Animals

* Under Development *

.2”-.28” | 5-7 mm
.2”-.28” | 5-7 mm
2”-2.4” | 5-6 cm
.03-.07 oz | 1-2 g
2-6 years
Antarctic Krill
0.700
0.700
6.000
0.002
6.00
6100
GUIDE
3D
Antarctic Krill
1.4”-3.9” | 3.5-10 cm
1.2”-3.1” | 3-8 cm
2”-6” | 5.1-15.2 cm (Overall)
.22-1 lb | .1-.45 kg
15-30 years
Caribbean Hermit Crab
10.000
8.000
15.200
0.450
30.00
1650
GUIDE
3D
Caribbean Hermit Crab
.24”-.28” | 6-7 mm
.2”-.28” | 5-7 mm
1.25”-1.5” | 3.2-3.8 cm
.1-.2 oz | 3-5 g
1-2 years
Cherry Shrimp
0.700
0.700
3.800
0.005
2.00
37700
GUIDE
3D
Cherry Shrimp
.6”-1.7” | 1.4-4.4 cm
1.2”-3.9” | 3-10 cm (Carapace)
1”-3” | 2.5-7.5 cm (Carapace)
1.6-5.6 oz | 45-160 g
2-5 years
Chinese Mitten Crab
4.400
10.000
7.500
0.160
5.00
6150
GUIDE
3D
Chinese Mitten Crab
2.4”-5.9” | 6-15 cm
3”-8” | 7.6-20.3 cm (Carapace)
5.9”-15.75” | 15-40 cm (Carapace)
8.8-11 lb | 4-5 kg
40-60 years
Coconut Crab
15.000
20.300
40.000
5.000
60.00
256900
GUIDE
3D
Coconut Crab
2.1”-3.5” | 5.4-8.9 cm
5.9”-9.8” | 15-25 cm (Carapace)
3.9”-6.5” | 10-16.5 cm (Carapace)
2-4.4 lb | .9-2 kg
8-13 years
Dungeness Crab
8.900
25.000
16.500
2.000
13.00
103060
GUIDE
3D
Dungeness Crab
1”-1.7” | 2.6-4.3 cm
2.5”-4” | 6.4-10.2 cm (Carapace)
2.1”-3.3” | 5.3-8.5 cm (Carapace)
2.6-3 oz | 75-85 g
3-5 years
European Green Crab
4.300
10.200
8.500
0.085
5.00
5500
GUIDE
3D
European Green Crab
2.6”-3” | 6.5-7.5 cm
5.1”-5.7” | 13-14.5 cm (Carapace)
3”-3.4” | 7.6-8.7 cm (Carapace)
3-6 oz | 85-170 g
6-8 years
Florida Stone Crab
7.500
14.500
8.700
0.170
8.00
2560
GUIDE
3D
Florida Stone Crab
4.1”-6.5” | 10.5-16.6 cm
7.9”-15” | 20-38 cm (Carapace)
9.25”-14” | 23.5-35.5 cm (Carapace)
28.7-44.1 lb | 13-20 kg
50-100 years
Japanese Spider Crab
16.600
38.000
35.500
20.000
100.00
85100
GUIDE
3D
Japanese Spider Crab
2”-3” | 5.1-7.7 cm
5.9”-8.7” | 15-22 cm (Carapace)
3.7”-5.6” | 9.5-14.3 cm (Carapace)
.75-1.2 lb | .34-.54 kg
1-5 years
Jonah Crab
7.700
22.000
14.300
0.540
5.00
7050
GUIDE
3D
Jonah Crab
1.6”-5.5” | 4-14 cm
2”-5.9” | 5-15 cm
7.9”-23.6” | 20-60 cm
9-44 lb | 4-20 kg
50-140 years
Maine Lobster | American Lobster
14.000
15.000
60.000
20.000
140.00
32400
GUIDE
3D
Maine Lobster | American Lobster
.3”-1” | .8-2.5 cm
.5”-2” | 1.3-5 cm
2”-7” | 5.1-17.8 cm
.4-3.2 oz | 12-90 g
4-6 years
Peacock Mantis Shrimp
2.500
5.000
17.800
0.090
6.00
24200
GUIDE
3D
Peacock Mantis Shrimp
3.9”-6.5” | 9.8-16.4 cm
5.9”-11” | 15-28 cm (Carapace)
5.1”-10” | 13-25.3 cm (Carapace)
24-28 lb | 10.9-12.7 kg
20-30 years
Red King Crab
16.400
28.000
25.300
12.700
30.00
11300
GUIDE
3D
Red King Crab
.8”-1.4” | 2-3.5 cm
2”-3.4” | 5-8.7 cm (Carapace)
1.8”-3.1” | 4.6-8 cm (Carapace)
.8-2 lb | .36-.91 kg
8-12 years
Red Rock Crab
3.500
8.700
8.000
0.910
12.00
3800
GUIDE
3D
Red Rock Crab
1.5”-2.5” | 3.7-6.4 cm
3.7”-6.5” | 9.4-16.5 cm (Carapace)
3.1”-5.4” | 8-13.6 cm (Carapace)
1.1-3 lb | .5-1.35 kg
12-20 years
Snow Crab
6.400
16.500
13.600
1.350
20.00
81350
GUIDE
3D
Snow Crab
.04”-.06” | .9-1.4 mm
.05”-.07” | 1.2-1.8 mm
.39”-.59” | 10-15 mm
1-2 weeks
Spiny Water Flea
0.140
0.180
1.500
0.04
1460
GUIDE
3D
Spiny Water Flea
3.7”-6.7” | 9.5-17 cm
11”-18.1” | 28-46 cm (Carapace)
8.4”-13.6” | 21.3-34.6 cm (Carapace)
20-39 lb | 9-17.7 kg
20-30 years
Tasmanian Giant Crab
17.000
46.000
34.600
17.700
30.00
5050
GUIDE
3D
Tasmanian Giant Crab
1”-1.4” | 2.5-3.5 cm
1.1”-1.5” | 2.7-3.7 cm
7”-9.1” | 17.8-23.1 cm
1-2.8 oz | 30-80 g
1-2 years
Whiteleg Shrimp
3.500
3.700
23.100
0.080
2.00
8100
GUIDE
3D
Whiteleg Shrimp
Caribbean Hermit Crab (Coenobita clypeatus)
Comparison drawing of the Caribbean Hermit Crab compared to other crustaceans

In case you go look for a pet crab, you might as well pick the Caribbean Hermit Crab (Coenobita clypeatus); also called the Purple Pincher, West Atlantic Crab, or Soldier Crab. However, note it is no true crab but more related to lobsters because it lacks a uniformly hard exoskeleton and is unable to grow its own shell, hence fighting for shells of dead snails. The crab is caught in the western Atlantic coastline and fits in the family Coenobitidae. The Caribbean Hermit Crab is both herbivorous and scavenger. As a terrestrial creature, it prefers to burrow and seek shelter beneath the roots of large trees.

The Caribbean Hermit Crab has an overall length between 2”-6” (5.1-15.2 cm), shell width of 1.2”-3.1” (3-8 cm), height of 1.4”-3.9” (3.5-10 cm), and weight between .22-1 lb (.1-.45 kg). The typical lifespan of the Caribbean Hermit Crab is between 15-30 years.

Set of scaled top and elevation drawings of the Caribbean Hermit Crab
In case you go look for a pet crab, you might as well pick the Caribbean Hermit Crab (Coenobita clypeatus); also called the Purple Pincher, West Atlantic Crab, or Soldier Crab. However, note it is no true crab but more related to lobsters because it lacks a uniformly hard exoskeleton.

The Caribbean Hermit Crab has an overall length between 2”-6” (5.1-15.2 cm), shell width of 1.2”-3.1” (3-8 cm), height of 1.4”-3.9” (3.5-10 cm), and weight between .22-1 lb (.1-.45 kg). The typical lifespan of the Caribbean Hermit Crab is between 15-30 years.

Set of scaled top and elevation drawings of the Caribbean Hermit Crab
Caribbean Hermit Crab (Coenobita clypeatus)
Height:
1.4”-3.9” | 3.5-10 cm
Width:
1.2”-3.1” | 3-8 cm
Length:
2”-6” | 5.1-15.2 cm (Overall)
Depth:
Weight:
.22-1 lb | .1-.45 kg
Area:
Scientific Name
Coenobita clypeatus
Lifespan
15-30 years

Drawings include:

Caribbean Hermit Crab top view, side

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Red Rock Crab (Grapsus grapsus)
Comparison drawing of the Red Rock Crab compared to other crustaceans

It may be more delicious than the Dungeness Crab, however, the Red Rock Crab (Cancer productus) is less meaty. If you are a sport or commercial fisherman, you can locate it on or near harder substrates like rock and pilings in the eastern Pacific coast in North America. But be warned that the Red Rock Crab is very agile, hence hard to catch. The Red Rock Crab fits in the family Cancridae with teeth set between the eyes, both of which have equal size and shape. Juveniles can assume different colors but adults are brick-red, possessing large distinctive pincers with black tips and a lack of projection or serration on their claws.

The Red Rock Crab has a carapace length between 1.8”-3.1” (4.6-8 cm), carapace width of 2”-3.4” (5-8.7 cm), body height of .8”-1.4” (2-3.5 cm), and weight between .8-2 lb (.36-.91 kg). The typical lifespan of the Red Rock Crab is between 8-12 years.

Set of scaled top and elevation drawings of the Red Rock Crab
It may be more delicious than the Dungeness Crab, however, the Red Rock Crab (Cancer productus) is less meaty. If you are a sport or commercial fisherman, you can locate it on or near harder substrates like rock and pilings in the eastern Pacific coast in North America.

The Red Rock Crab has a carapace length between 1.8”-3.1” (4.6-8 cm), carapace width of 2”-3.4” (5-8.7 cm), body height of .8”-1.4” (2-3.5 cm), and weight between .8-2 lb (.36-.91 kg). The typical lifespan of the Red Rock Crab is between 8-12 years.

Set of scaled top and elevation drawings of the Red Rock Crab
Red Rock Crab (Grapsus grapsus)
Height:
.8”-1.4” | 2-3.5 cm
Width:
2”-3.4” | 5-8.7 cm (Carapace)
Length:
1.8”-3.1” | 4.6-8 cm (Carapace)
Depth:
Weight:
.8-2 lb | .36-.91 kg
Area:
Scientific Name
Grapsus grapsus
Lifespan
8-12 years

Drawings include:

Red Rock Crab top view, side

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Jonah Crab (Cancer borealis)
Scale illustration of an average Jonah Crab compared to other crustacean species

The Jonah crab (Cancer borealis) is a medium-sized crab possessing a flat but otherwise broad carapace. Look for it in the rocky substrate in deep waters of the western North Atlantic Ocean and not tidal zones preferred by other crabs of similar size. As a member of the family Cancridae, the Jonah Crab is identified by rounded and rough-edged carapace showing tiny white spots. Its robust claws are dark-brown at the tips and show an abdomen that is small and folded below the thorax and pincers. This crab is edible with a sweet taste, though has less meat when compared to the Dungeness crab.

The Jonah Crab has a carapace length between 3.7”-5.6” (9.5-14.3 cm), carapace width of 5.9”-8.7” (15-22 cm), body height of 2”-3” (5.1-7.7 cm), and weight between .75-1.2 lb (.34-.54 kg). The typical lifespan of the Jonah Crab is between 1-5 years.

Series of measured illustrations of the Jonah Crab
The Jonah crab (Cancer borealis) is a medium-sized crab possessing a flat but otherwise broad carapace. Look for it in the rocky substrate in deep waters of the western North Atlantic Ocean and not tidal zones preferred by other crabs of similar size. As a member of the family Cancridae.

The Jonah Crab has a carapace length between 3.7”-5.6” (9.5-14.3 cm), carapace width of 5.9”-8.7” (15-22 cm), body height of 2”-3” (5.1-7.7 cm), and weight between .75-1.2 lb (.34-.54 kg). The typical lifespan of the Jonah Crab is between 1-5 years.

Series of measured illustrations of the Jonah Crab
Jonah Crab (Cancer borealis)
Height:
2”-3” | 5.1-7.7 cm
Width:
5.9”-8.7” | 15-22 cm (Carapace)
Length:
3.7”-5.6” | 9.5-14.3 cm (Carapace)
Depth:
Weight:
.75-1.2 lb | .34-.54 kg
Area:
Scientific Name
Cancer borealis
Lifespan
1-5 years

Drawings include:

Jonah Crab top view, side

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Spiny Water Flea (Bythotrephes longimanus)
Scale illustration of an average Spiny Water Flea compared to other crustacean species

Looking at the Spiny Water Flea (Bythotrephes longimanus) may make you conclude it is an alien from outer space, how it is a member of the crustacean family Cercopagididae. The Spiny Water Flea is considered an invasive species capable of colonizing the lower level of the food chain and leaving a trail of destruction in an ecosystem. Though it has origins in Northern Europe and Asia, it has also colonized the Great Lakes region. They have a rapid growth rate and are recognized by a long abdominal spine bearing several barbs for protection. Juveniles show one pair of barbs on their spine while adults possess four pairs of barbs.

The Spiny Water Flea has an overall length between .39”-.59” (10-15 mm), body width of .05”-.07” (1.2-1.8 mm), and body height of .04”-.06” (.9-1.4 mm). The typical lifespan of the Spiny Water Flea is between 1-2 weeks.

Series of measured illustrations of the Spiny Water Flea
Looking at the Spiny Water Flea (Bythotrephes longimanus) may make you conclude it is an alien from outer space, how it is a member of the crustacean family Cercopagididae. The Spiny Water Flea is considered an invasive species capable of colonizing the lower level of the food chain.

The Spiny Water Flea has an overall length between .39”-.59” (10-15 mm), body width of .05”-.07” (1.2-1.8 mm), and body height of .04”-.06” (.9-1.4 mm). The typical lifespan of the Spiny Water Flea is between 1-2 weeks.

Series of measured illustrations of the Spiny Water Flea
Spiny Water Flea (Bythotrephes longimanus)
Height:
.04”-.06” | .9-1.4 mm
Width:
.05”-.07” | 1.2-1.8 mm
Length:
.39”-.59” | 10-15 mm
Depth:
Weight:
Area:
Scientific Name
Bythotrephes longimanus
Lifespan
1-2 weeks

Drawings include:

Spiny Water Flea top view, side

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Florida Stone Crab (Menippe mercenaria)
Set of size comparison illustrations of the size of a Florida Stone Crab to other crustaceans

Crabs tend to have females being larger than males, except in unique circumstances like in the case of the Florida Stone Crab (Menippe mercenaria) where males have larger carapace and chelae than females. It is a delicacy caught in the western North Atlantic Ocean. The crab belongs to the family Menippidae revealing a pale brown belly but brownish-red dorsal with gray spots. It shelters near dock piling, rocky areas, oyster reefs, and jetties. The Florida Stone Crab is a nocturnal creature, capable of migrating seasonally, and using self-amputation to district predators or takes advantage of their massive chelipeds that can withstand significant pressure.

The Florida Stone Crab has a carapace length between 3”-3.4” (7.6-8.7 cm), carapace width of 5.1”-5.7” (13-14.5 cm), body height of 2.6”-3” (6.5-7.5 cm), and weight between 3-6 oz (85-170 g). The typical lifespan of the Florida Stone Crab is between 6-8 years.

Scaled collection of drawings of Florida Stone Crab in various poses
Crabs tend to have females being larger than males, except in unique circumstances like in the case of the Florida Stone Crab (Menippe mercenaria) where males have larger carapace and chelae than females. It is a delicacy caught in the western North Atlantic Ocean.

The Florida Stone Crab has a carapace length between 3”-3.4” (7.6-8.7 cm), carapace width of 5.1”-5.7” (13-14.5 cm), body height of 2.6”-3” (6.5-7.5 cm), and weight between 3-6 oz (85-170 g). The typical lifespan of the Florida Stone Crab is between 6-8 years.

Scaled collection of drawings of Florida Stone Crab in various poses
Florida Stone Crab (Menippe mercenaria)
Height:
2.6”-3” | 6.5-7.5 cm
Width:
5.1”-5.7” | 13-14.5 cm (Carapace)
Length:
3”-3.4” | 7.6-8.7 cm (Carapace)
Depth:
Weight:
3-6 oz | 85-170 g
Area:
Scientific Name
Menippe mercenaria
Lifespan
6-8 years

Drawings include:

Florida Stone Crab top view, side

Downloads

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