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

Glebocarcinus oregonensis (Dana, 1852)
Pygmy Rock Crab
Family: Cancridae

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

© Aaron Baldwin  Email the photographer   (Photo ID #2179)

E-Fauna BC Static Map
Distribution of Glebocarcinus oregonensis in British Columbia
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Species Information

Carapace margins rounded, not clearly defined into anterior and posterior like other species of Cancer; margins toothed; surface finely granular, with knobs and grooves in symmetrical patterns. Chelipeds stout; fingers almost entirely dark coloured. Walking legs relatively slender and setose with stout dactyls. At least 3 variants may be found: the common form has marginal teeth on the carapace closely set and points curved. In the second form the teeth are flattened and joined laterally and the surface of the carapace has wart-like knobs. A third form has narrow teeth that are curved, pointed and separate and the surface of the carapace has numerous raised granulate surfaces.


Carapace: male 36 x 49.5 mm, female 31 x 42 mm.


Carapace mostly red-brown with grey granules and white patches. Chelipeds white with orange, flesh and pale grey granules; fingers black. Walking legs white with red spots and a web of purple, tan and flesh with grey; claws yellow. Abdomen white. Eyestalk white or flesh with light brown knobs; cornea grey with black centre.


Intertidally in rocky areas under loose rocks or in hidden crevices under kelp holdfasts where their movements apparently make a “cave” from which they do not escape due to normal increase in size. Unoccupied holes in sandstone, originally made by sea urchins, and empty barnacle shells are also occupied. When these crabs cut burrows in styrofoam floats they can cause a serious reduction in the efficiency of floatation.



Bering Sea, to Santa Barabara, California; intertidal to 436 m.
Distribution In British Columbia

Common to 125 m.

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

Breeding for this species occurs during the summer. Males are known to carry females that are molting and continue to carry them until their new shell hardens.

Synonyms and Alternate Names

Cancer oregonensis Dana, 1852

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: 2024-05-27 6:43:20 AM]
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