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I found these crabs at the end of September, 2018. My family was vacationing on the coast of Lopez Island in the Pacific Ocean off of Washington State. I have been trying to figure out what they are ever since. I found two crabs, one that was orange and black, and another that was off-white and black. They are both about an inch and a half across and an inch from front to back. I did some research and the closest thing I could find are oyster crabs, which are found inside oysters on the East Coast of North America. (I found my information on oyster crabs here). However, I found these inside clams on the West Coast. Also, the pictures of oyster crabs I can find online (figure 1) do not look like my oyster crabs. I was wondering if anyone can identify these crabs. Sorry about the picture quality and thanks in advance!

A picture of an oyster crab I found online [Figure 1: A picture of an oyster crab that I found online. There are not very many pictures of oyster crabs online, and they all look similar to this one.]

Two supposed oyster crabs [Figure 2: The back of the two supposed oyster crabs I found. They are not fighting, I just put them close together for the picture.]

The front of one supposed oyster crab [Figure 3: The front of the off-white supposed oyster crab. In the picture, you can see its tiny eyes and small mouth, along with the claws.]

The front of another supposed oyster crab [Figure 4: The front of the orange supposed oyster crab. In the picture, you can see its tiny eyes, small mouth, and claws.]

The back of the orange supposed oyster crab [Figure 5: The back of the orange supposed oyster crab.]

The back of the off-white supposed oyster crab [Figure 6: The back of the off-white supposed oyster crab.]

The undersides of the supposed oyster crabs [Figure 7: The undersides of the two supposed oyster crabs. As you can see, they both have eight legs and two claws, making them crabs and part of the crustacean family.]

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  • $\begingroup$ Hi welcome to Bio.SE! Could you add a note or caption clarifying which pictures represent your specimens and which are online comparisons? I believe just your top one comes from a source other than your own, but I think captions would make this crystal clear. Thanks! $\endgroup$ Feb 12, 2019 at 4:37
  • $\begingroup$ I want to say... so cute. $\endgroup$
    – user22542
    Feb 12, 2019 at 17:01
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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for the advice! I’ll definitely add some captions. And I totally agree. They are really cute! $\endgroup$ Feb 12, 2019 at 17:56
  • $\begingroup$ Upvoted for the clear photos! $\endgroup$
    – iayork
    Feb 12, 2019 at 20:16

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What you have found are pea crabs, which have a fascinating life history of parasitism. https://www.whitestoneoysters.com/blogs/an-oyster-life/what-the-shuck-is-a-pea-crab

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    $\begingroup$ Thanks for answering this question! We appreciate when new users with expert knowledge begin answering questions! Please update your post, however, to include more information about why your ID is correct. Given the propensity for external links to go defunct, we ask that your answer here can adequately stand on its own in explaining both the correct answer and your rationale. Support as a link is fine (and citing/linking sources is preferred/required), but please capture some of the relevant detail from your external source in your post itself. Thanks! $\endgroup$ May 5 at 21:09

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