Ovalipes Ocellatus - Lady Crab | Montauk Point, New York

© Sophie W. Smith

Joined October 2012

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Artist's Description

Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Crustacea
Class: Malacostraca
Order: Decapoda
Infraorder: Brachyura
Family: Portunidae
Genus: Ovalipes
Species: O. ocellatus
Binomial name
Ovalipes ocellatus

Ovalipes ocellatus is a species of crab from eastern North America, known as the lady crab, calico crab (not to be confused with Hepatus epheliticus) or ocellated crab. It has a shell 3 in (7.6 cm) long and only slightly wider, which is covered in clusters of purple spots. It occurs from Canada to Georgia, and lives mainly on molluscs, such as the Atlantic surf clam.

The carapace of O. ocellatus is slightly wider than long, at 8.9 centimetres (3.5 in) wide, and 7.5 cm (3.0 in) long. This distinguishes it from other crabs in the family Portunidae, which often have elongated lateral spines. The carapace is yellow-grey or light purplish, with “leopardlike clusters of purple dots”, and 3–5 spines along the edge behind each eye. O. ovalipes is almost identical to O. floridanus, which lives in the Gulf of Mexico, but can be separated from the sympatric O. stephensoni by the purple spots, which O. stephensoni lacks. Read more

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