ISSN 1067-4136, Russian Journal of Ecology, 2007, Vol. 38, No. 2, pp. 112–118. © Pleiades Publishing, Ltd., 2007.
Original Russian Text © D.D. Gabaev, 2007, published in Ekologiya, 2007, Vol. 38, No. 2, pp. 124–130.
The red king crab
sius) is among the most valuable commercial species of
marine invertebrates. It lives in Far Eastern seas, from
Kamchatka Bay of the Bering Sea to the Korean Penin-
sula, and along the American coast, from Norton Island
to British Columbia. In the 1960s and 1970s, it was suc-
cessfully introduced in the Barents Sea (Kuz’min and
Gudimova, 2002). In the mid-1990s, after transition to
new forms of economic management in Russia, a grow-
ing tendency toward general reduction of the king crab
stock manifested itself. The main factor responsible for
this tendency is overﬁshing.
The sessile benthos (algae, hydroids, and bryozo-
ans) provides substrates for the settling of larvae, as
well as food and shelter for juvenile crabs. Therefore,
the presence of grounds with rich epifauna and
beds is an essential condition for the survival of
juveniles (Zaks, 1936). Since the mid-20th century,
increased silting that causes changes in the fauna com-
position has been recorded in Peter the Great Bay (Kob-
yakova, 1962). In addition, under the impact of pollu-
tion and commercial harvesting, the stock of
—one of the main substrates for the settling of crab
larvae—has decreased from 86 500 t in 1961 to 40000
in recent years (Umudova and Zhil’tsova, 1994).
Hydroids also suffer from pollution (Chaplygina,
1990). Crab larvae that settle on the bare silty bottom
perish (Vinogradov, 1941). In this context, the problem
of artiﬁcial propagation of the species is highly relevant
In my opinion, prerequisites for intensive crab culti-
vation in Russia are as yet lacking, and, hence, the cor-
responding technology will not be discussed here.
Extensive technology appears to be more promising. In
other countries, experimental studies on gathering lar-
vae from wild spawners on collectors began fairly long
ago (Kuvatani, 1989; Donaldson et al., 1992). There are
also Russian publications on the collection of crab lar-
vae on scallop collectors and subsequent rearing of
juveniles to the age sufﬁcient for their survival (Gabaev,
1985; Fedoseev and Gabaev, 1989; Maslennikov et al.,
1999; Grigor’eva and Fedoseev, 2000; Fedoseev and
Grigor’eva, 2001). To date, our team has processed
long-term data on the collection and rearing of king
crab larvae on artiﬁcial substrates, which provides a
basis for determining the factors that inﬂuence the pop-
ulation dynamics of juveniles. In addition, these studies
will possibly help in developing a special technology
for king crab rearing under conditions of the Western
Kamchatka shelf, the region with a great potential for
the reproduction of its population.
MATERIAL AND METHODS
Research on conditions for reproduction of com-
mercial invertebrates in Primorye began in Minonosok
Bight of Posiet Bay in 1977. Immediately after the ice
melted, underwater studies were performed in order to
determine the routes of migration of crab spawners in
shallow waters. Thereafter, prior to the settling of lar-
vae, artiﬁcial substrates were placed on the bottom
(artiﬁcial reefs) and in plantation water areas. This
work continued from mid-May to late June. In 1978,
the study area was extended to the entire northwestern
part of Posiet Bay and then (in 1981) to Vladivostok
coastal waters. Between 1985 and 1989, studies were
also performed north of Peter the Great Bay (Fig. 1).
From 1998 to 2004, colonization of artiﬁcial substrates
was monitored only in Minonosok Bight. Substrates
Ecology of Reproduction of the Red King Crab
D. D. Gabaev
Zhirmunskii Institute of Marine Biology, Far East Division, Russian Academy of Sciences,
ul. Pal’chevskogo, 17, Vladivostok, 690041 Russia;
Received December 2, 2005
—Conditions for reproduction of the red king crab
) on scallop
plantations in Primorye have been studied. It has been found that the settling of larvae and the growth of juve-
niles to the size sufﬁcient for their survival take place only in the cleanest water areas of Peter the Great Bay.
Solar activity (expressed as the Wolfer number) is one of the most important abiotic factors affecting
reproduction. The population dynamics of juvenile crabs are characterized by ﬂuctuations with
two-year and ﬁve-year cycles.
: red king crab, juveniles, distribution, environment, pollution, population dynamics, cultivation.