E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Wildlife of British Columbia

Acantholithodes hispidus (Stimpson, 1860)
Spiny Lithode Crab
Family: Lithodidae

Species account author: Josephine Hart.
Extracted from Crabs and their relatives of British Columbia.
Photo of species

© Aaron Baldwin  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #95818)

E-Fauna BC Static Map
Distribution of Acantholithodes hispidus in British Columbia
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Species Information

Carapace somewhat pear-shaped; surface flattened and covered with numerous small spines dorsally and larger ones marginally. Chelipeds setose, with many spines both large and small; subequal in length but right usually much stouter than left. Walking legs stout, subequal in length to chelipeds and similarly armed. Abdomen short and broad, calcified anteriorly and bearing may small setose spines. Eyestalk small, cone-shaped and cornea oval.


Carapace: male 62 x 64 mm, female 49 x 50 mm.


Carapace varying shades of brown with opaque white areas. Spines dark red-brown, orange or white. Chelipeds greenish brown or chocolate with grey-blue bands; spines dark red, orange, white or mottled. Large hand orange with wine red fingers, white teeth and black tips. Walking legs similarly coloured and banded, with dactyl dark red-brown or chocolate; claw black. Eyestalk light brown with dark brown stripes; cornea orange with a black pigment spot.


Rocky or muddy areas. Predator of shrimp and often caught in deep-water prawn traps.



Off Moorovskoy Bay, Alaska (Albatross Stn. 3319), to Monterey, California; intertidal to 135 m.
Distribution In British Columbia

Recorded mostly from the Strait of Georgia but probably widespread in localities where shrimp are abundant.

Status Information

Origin StatusProvincial StatusBC List
(Red Blue List)
BC Ministry of Environment: BC Species and Ecosystems Explorer--the authoritative source for conservation information in British Columbia.

Additional Notes

This is a species of King Crab, a group of saltwater crabs thought to be descended from hermit crab ancestors (Wikipedia 2009).

Additional Photo Sources

General References

Recommended citation: Author, Date. Page title. In Klinkenberg, Brian. (Editor) 2021. E-Fauna BC: Electronic Atlas of the Fauna of British Columbia [efauna.bc.ca]. Lab for Advanced Spatial Analysis, Department of Geography, University of British Columbia, Vancouver. [Accessed: 2024-06-15 5:16:52 PM]
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