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Lithodes couesi Benedict, 1895
Scarlet King Crab
Family: Lithodidae

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


© Aaron Baldwin     (Photo ID #2088)


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Distribution of Lithodes couesi in British Columbia in British Columbia

Species Information

Carapace margined with sharp spines with smaller conical spines on dorsal area and on cheliped and walking legs. Rostrum with bifid tip and a pair of lateral spines. Subequal chelipeds shorter than walking legs. Eyestalk small; cornea terminal. Acicle of antenna small with slender spines. Abdomen not spined; 2nd segment composed of fused plates. Juveniles strikingly different due to the proportions of the body and length of spines.


Carapace: male 105 x 81 mm.


Carapace rose pink with white grooves. Spines red with yellow tips and some small white granules. Chelipeds crimson with white joints; fingers with white teeth and yellow setae. Walking legs crimson with white spots and knobs at junctions; claws yellow with dark tips. Eyestalk red with pink band; cornea red-brown or black. Antennule crimson; flagella orange. Antenna base pink with red spines, the rest crimson, including flagellum. Juveniles scarlet.


Dredged from mud or boulders in deep water.



Bering Sea to off San Diego, California; from 258 to 1829 m.
Distribution In British Columbia

West of Vancouver Island, Tasu Sound, Engelfield Bay, Queen Charlotte Islands, and Dixon Entrance.

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.

General References