Reproductive Biology

Mating occurs when the female crab is in her soft-shell condition. Prior to molting she is carried by a male who grasps her by the claws in a face-to-face position. Fertilization is external,

Pinnotheres pisum Paralithodes camtschaticus

with the male crab using the reduced fifth pair of legs to spread sperm onto the female's pleopods. The eggs are extruded immediately after mating but take nearly a year to hatch; depending on the size of the female the clutches range from 150,000-400,000 eggs. Larval development consists of four zoeal stages followed by a megalops, which settles out in structurally complex habitats.

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