Yellow Crab
Cancer anthonyi (aka Matacarcinus anthoyi)

Physical Description

    • Oval-shaped, broad, hard shell
    • Yellow, orange, or yellowish-brown body, with large black-tipped pincers on the claws
    • Large, smooth claws like rock crabs. But unlike rock crabs, no red spotting on underbelly


    • Humboldt Bay, California to Bahia Magdalena, Baja California
    • Rare north of Point Conception


    • From intertidal depths to 430 feet, but prefer 60-180 feet
    • Mainly in sandy habitat
    • Bays, estuaries, sloughs


    • Echinoderms (sea stars, sea urchins, sea cucumbers), snails, and clams


    • Juveniles eaten by octopus and sand stars
    • Adult rock crabs eaten by southern sea otters, scorpionfish, cabezon, barred sand bass, and several species of rockfish

Interesting Facts

    • Also called Yellow Rock Crab
    • Most commonly fished crab in southern California; 70-95% of the crab fishery in southern California
    • Rock crabs can molt up to 12 times; Encyclopedia of Life; iNaturalist; California Sea Grant; Species Profiles: Life Histories and Environmental Requirements of Coastal Fishes and Invertebrates (Pacific Southwest) 

Photo: David R. Andrew

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