About a year ago Nathan brought in this strange-looking crab. It was about the same size as a regular shore crab, but it had a much different shape and nobody had ever seen anything like it on the beach.
After seeing a photo of a mottled-looking juvenile green crab at the recent Pacific Coast Shellfish Grower's Association conference, we got worried this might be an invasive European green crab. Green crab are bad news and have invaded beaches and estuaries along the Pacific Coast, although they haven't (yet) made it into Puget Sound. So we enlisted the help of some identification experts, and eventually got this response from Brian Bingham of Western Washington University:
This looks like a juvenile red rock as you say. They are extremely variable in coloration and I have seen others similar to this. The black tipped claws, the shape of the carapace and the clear teeth along the carapaces edges say Cancer productus. As you say, Lophopanopeus has a carapace that is much squarer.So, we learn something new every day. For more about red rock crab, go here.