On Exhibit: Monterey Bay Habitats
crabs, sea stars, scavenged food
to 6 inches across (15 cm)
California king crab, Alaskan king crab; other crustaceans (crabs, shrimp, lobsters)
seafloor, 500-2,400 feet (152-732 m)
Spiny king crabs prowl the deep seafloor for live food, eating other crabs and sea stars. But when they can't find fresh food, they're quick to lunch on leftover scraps or dead animals that fall from above.
This crab has clutching claws and fast-moving mouth parts—they help the crab grab food, tear it apart and shovel the pieces into its mouth.
In Monterey Bay, local fishers catch these king crabs using traps. Trapping is generally a safe way to catch seafood, as unwanted animals can be released unharmed.
Sharp spikes protrude from this crab's body, offering protection from predators.