- They have a teardrop-shaped body with a spiny, bumpy shell
- Have spinelike points on their downward-facing snout
- Eight long, spindly legs with big, knobby joints, and two claws
- Adult males reach a diameter of 6.5 inches and have larger claws; adult females reach a diameter of 4.5 inches
- Juveniles cover themselves with barnacles, bryozoans, hydroids, and algae for camouflage
- Adults develop a film of fuzzy green algae all over their bodies
- Point Reyes, California to Baja California, Mexico
- Found at depths of 20-500 feet
- Live on rocky reefs and pilings
- Females are sexually mature when 4-7 inches wide, males at 4-9.5 inches wide
- Males and females pile up on shore to mate
- They hook back to back to mate
- Mating occurs in late spring-summer
- Females can store sperm when there’s an absence of males
- Each brood includes 125,000-500,000 eggs
- Scavengers, they eat living or dead things on the seafloor
- Known to eat octopus, starfish, and clams
- Cabezon, California sheephead, octopus, sharks, and rays
- The name sheep crab may come from the fuzzy layer of algae adults grow on their shells.
- They live to be about four years old.
- They are the largest species of California spider crabs.
Sources: California Sea Grant; Monterey Bay Aquarium
Photo: Herb Gruenhagen