Monterey Bay

National Marine Sanctuary

An Interview with a Red Rock Crab

Interviewer: We're here with Mr. Red Rock Crab. So, Mr. Crab, how old are you?

Red Rock Crab: Well, I'm 3 years old, but crabs usually live 5-7 years, so I'm a young crab.

I: I see your shell is hard. Tell us about it.

RRC: My shell is an exoskeleton which means it's my skeleton on the outside. It's made out of calcium and it's also called a carapace. Also, every once in a while I will molt and my shell will fall off revealing a new soft shell. Female crabs molt right before they mate and the male crabs protect them.

I: How are males different from females?

RRC: Well, females have a large abdomen flap to hold all of the eggs; Males have a small, narrower flap.

I: Wow, you're interesting! I think we have time for one more question. Tell us about your history.

RRC: Crabs have been around for 2-5 million years. Also, there are 4,500 species of crab today. Red rock crabs range from Oregon to Baja, California.

I: Well, crabs are very interesting creatures. Thank you for coming to talk with us.

RRC: It was my pleasure! Good bye everyone!

by Alexander Holt

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© 1997 The Special Species Project ®