Red crabs are native to the western Atlantic Ocean, occurring from the Scotian Shelf and the Bay of Fundy south to the Gulf of Mexico. Populations are most dense on mud, sand and hard bottoms at water temperatures of 5-8° C. Their range may extend farther south, but this has not yet been confirmed. The movements of these crabs are not yet fully understood, partly because of the depths at which they live. Red crabs are found as far down as 1800 metres on the continental shelf and slopes of the Atlantic.
Red crabs are dark red or orange red. They have a squarish carapace distinguished by its five spines and long, thin walking legs with two claws of roughly equal size. The carapace of the males can reach 180 mm in diameter and they can weigh 1.7 kg, while females grow to a maximum of about 140 mm, and are typically 0.7 kg. They may live for 15 years or more.
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