Cultivation potential of golden king crab, Lithodes aequispinus
Alaska Sea Grant Report 06-04: 47-54
Golden king crabs possess a number of attributes that make them amenable for aquaculture: 1. Adult females are a seasonal and asynchronous in reproduction with ovigerous females being available year-round, and females hatching eggs in every month. 2. Larvae are large and easy to handle. The relatively inert larvae are demersal, remaining near the bottom of culture dishes. 3. Larvae are fully lecithotrophic, eliminating the need for feeding, decreasing the potential for culture contamination. 4. The larval period is short, only 25 d from hatching to glaucothoe. This larval period might be decreased with more suitable culture conditions. 5. Survival of larvae is high, and larvae can easily be cultured individually. Golden king crabs also possess a number of life history attributes that detract from their use in aquaculture: 1. The habitat is much deeper than that of red king crabs. Release of glaucothoe or early crab stages into deep waters might be problematic and monitoring their survival would be challenging. Early life history stages might not survive well in shallow waters, as they do not occur there naturally. 2. Many aspects of the early life history remain unknown in comparison to red king crabs, which have been more extensively studied. Whether or not the non-feeding larvae are agonistic and will survive well in mass culture is unknown. 3. Growth rates of juveniles and adults are slower than red king crabs. 4. An unusually long period between successive clutches of ovigerous females would necessitate acquiring new brood stock.