Observation of movement and habitat utilization by golden king crabs (Lithodes aequispinus) in Frederick Sound, Alaska

Hoyt, Z.N.; Shirley, T.C.; Warrenchuk, J.J.

Alaska Sea Grant Report, 02-01: 595-608


Accession: 023214913

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Male and female golden king crabs (Lithodes aequispinus) were collected ornmercial crab pots in Frederick Sound, a commercial fishing area in eastern Alaska, and sonic tags were attached to the carapace of 26 crabs. Tagged crabs were either returned to their collection site or translocated to different depths. Crab movements were monitored May 12-19 with a manned submersible and surface vessels and July 5-8, September October 1 and November 7-11, 2000, with a surface vessel. Depth distribution, dispersal, and associations with conspecifics were analyzed. Substrate type and habitat with which the crabs were associated were videotaped and described; most crabs were in boulder or cobble areas, or hear vertical walls. Sexes of crabs may have been segregated by during our sampling periods and all successfully tagged crabs dispersed from their release site with time. The greatest distance traveled lay to November was 17.5 km, with an average distance traveled of 11.5 km for all successfully tagged crabs. Our observations of 17 pairs of crabs in premating embraces between May 12 and 19 suggests that mid-May is a time in which reproductive activity takes place in this population. Trends in movement from shallow to deeper water, from May 12 (capture and release) until November 11 (final relocation date), were observed for sonically tagged crabs.