Dungeness crab


Dungeness Crab, Cancer magister, is the biggest, baddest, king of the southwest coast crustaceans. (aside from the Alaska King Crab who blows these suckers out of the water). These purple- brownish crabs are so sweet and tender, compared to all other good eating crabs,  they are the popular choice for all things delicacy. 

They are easily found in water 20′ to 200′ along the Pacific Ocean’s west coast from Alaska to California. They prefer to live in eel grass but they have been known to make other seaweed forested sandy/muddy bottoms their habitats as well. If you live near the water then there’s an good

Dungeness crab have grown as large as 10 inches across the shell, but that’s abnormally large. Usually you will find crabs that are 8 inches or under. The legal size for keeping a male dungeness is 6 1/4 inches in the U.S. and 6 1/2 inches (165 mm) in Canada. Females are not legal to catch and keep, they also rarely reach the minimum legal size.

Another easy method to tell their sex apart is by taking a look at their under carriage. Females have large abdomens. Male crabs are smaller and thinner, although they have recently been introduced to the abdomen enlargement pumps.

Compared to Alaska King Crab and Snow Crabs they have relatively tiny legs. But they make up for it in the amount of meat you can get from one crab. A whopping 25% of the 2-4 pound crab is meat.

These crabs will molt several times but, unlike the soft shelled blue crabs, you wouldn’t want to eat these when they are just newly molted. Quite the contrary, a soft shelled Dungeness is an undesirable crab. mainly because there won’t be much meat. An easy way to check is to give one of the back legs a gentle squeeze, if it’s soft it’s obvious.

Crab facts:

  • One whole cooked dungeness crab = 140 calories
  • The signal for sexy time is when the female urinates on the male antennas.
  • A male will mate with a newly molted female and stick with her for protection for a couple of days.
  • Females produce two and a half million eggs.
  • Crabs are cannibals.
  • Oregon honored Dungeness by making it the state crustacean.


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