Phylum: Arthropoda (Subphylum: Crustacea)
Class: Malacostraca (Subclass: Eumalacostraca)
Order: Decapoda (Suborder: Anomura)
Species: P. camtschaticus
Paralithodes camtschaticus, which is among the world’s largest arthropods (weighing over 10 kg and 22 cm in carapace length, Powell and Nickerson 1965) has a crab-like morphology and a strong calcified exoskeleton with spines (Cunningham et al. 1992). It has a fused head and thorax, a fan shaped tail, 5 sets of appendages, the first two are pincers, the right is usually larger than the left, and three pairs of walking legs. In the front, the crab has an array of antennae and mouth parts (mandibles, maxillae and maxillipeds). The body is red/ brownish but has also been found blue.
The characteristics distinguishing the red king crab includes the number of spines. The carapace is split into four regions: two lateral regions with 9 spines each, the front area with 9 spines, and the upper posterior region with 6 spines.
- Cunningham, C.W., Blackstone, N.W. & Buss, L.W. 1992. Evolution of king crab from hermit crab ancestors. Nature, 355: 539-542.
- Powell, G.C. & Nickerson, R.B. 1965. Reproduction of king crabsParalithodes camtschatica (Tilesius). J. Fish. Res. Bd. Can., 22(1): 101-111.