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Life History Information for Selected California Marine Invertebrates and Plants

Invertebrates

Species Primary depth range in feet
( x 0.305 = meters)
Primary Geographic range within state using four regions Habitat Preference juveniles Habitat Preference adults Unique or significant life history characteristics Larval type Larval duration
[potential larval dispersal]
Potential for adult dispersal
Crab, box 0-1800 All regions, including islands rocky reef, submarine canyons rocky reef, submarine canyons unknown planktonic unknown unknown
Crab, brown rock 0-300 All regions, including islands rocky reefs, kelp beds rocky reefs, kelp beds rock crabs may live 5-6 years planktonic 3-4 months moderate
Crab, Dungeness 0-750 N,NC,SC sand, sand-mud, estuaries sand, sand-mud larvae may be transported more than 50 miles offshore planktonic 105-125 days moderate
Crab, red rock 0-750 All regions, including islands rocky reefs, submarine canyons rocky reefs, submarine canyons may co-occur with spot prawns miles offshore planktonic 3-4 months moderate
Crab, sand Intertidal All regions, including islands intertidal, shallow subtidal sand intertidal, shallow subtidal sand larvae may occur with Dungeness crab larvae planktonic unknown low
Crab, spider
(sheep crab)
20-410 South rocky reefs, kelp beds rocky reefs, kelp beds cease molting after reaching maturity planktonic unknown moderate-high
Crab, yellow rock 0-300 South sand, soft bottom sand, soft bottom egg-bearing females may congregate in rock-sand interface habitat planktonic 3-4 months moderate
Lobster, California 0-240 South, mainland and islands surf grass beds rocky reef, kelp beds, eel grass beds egg-bearing females generally found in shallow water planktonic 5-9 months moderate-high
Prawn, spot 150-1,600 All regions, including islands shallower mud, mud-sand, sand/rock. rocky reef, submarine canyons mud, mud-sand, sand/rock. rocky reef, submarine canyons change sex from male to female during year 4 planktonic unknown moderate
Prawn, ridgeback 145-525 South; mainland and islands sand, shell, green mud sand, shell, green mud positive response to El Nio conditions planktonic unknown low
Shrimp, bay
(several species)
0-575 All regions soft bottom, estuaries soft bottom, estuaries major prey item for fishes planktonic 30-40 days low-moderate
Shrimp, coonstripe
(several species)
60-600 N, NC sand, gravel, rocky reef, submarine canyon sand, gravel, rocky reef, submarine canyon change sex from male to female during year 1 or 2 planktonic unknown moderate
Shrimp, ghost and mud shrimp
(several species)
Intertidal All regions sand, sand/mud, sand/gravel sand, sand/mud, sand/gravel form permanent burrows or impermanent tunnels planktonic unknown low
Shrimp, ocean 150-1200 N,NC,SC: Oregon border to Pt. Arguello green mud, mud-sand green mud, mud-sand change sex from male to female during year 2 planktonic 2.5 to 3 months moderate
Cucumber, sea
(several species)
0-300 All regions, including islands rocky reefs, sand/mud rocky reefs, sand/mud do not form spawning aggregations planktonic 51-91 days low
Urchin, purple 0-300 All regions, including islands rocky reefs, kelp beds, under canopy of adults rocky reefs, kelp beds require high densities for successful spawning planktonic 6-8 weeks low
Urchin, red Intertidal to 500 All regions, including islands rocky reefs, kelp beds, under canopy of adults rocky reefs, kelp beds require high densities for successful spawning planktonic 6-8 weeks low
Urchin, white 0-990 South, including islands sand, eel grass beds sand, eel grass beds extremely efficient grazers on smaller algaes planktonic 30-60 days low
Abalone, black Intertidal, 0-20 NC,SC,S crevices in rocky reefs, kelp beds rocky reefs, kelp beds susceptible to withering syndrome disease planktonic 4-7 days low
Abalone, flat 20-70 All regions, including islands crevices in rocky reefs, kelp beds rocky reefs, kelp beds generally a cryptic species planktonic 4-7 days low
Abalone, green Intertidal, 0-30 South, mainland and islands crevices in rocky reefs, kelp beds rocky reefs, kelp beds feed on drift algae planktonic 4-7 days low
Abalone, pink Intertidal, 20-120 South, mainland and islands crevices in rocky reefs, kelp beds, rock outcrops rocky reefs, kelp beds, rock outcrops generally occurs where water temp is above 14 C planktonic 4-7 days low
Abalone, pinto Intertidal to 70 N,NC,SC crevices in rocky reefs, kelp beds rocky reefs, kelp beds commonly found at approx. 4-inch length planktonic 4-7 days low
Abalone, red Intertidal to 100 All regions, including islands crevices in rocky reefs, kelp beds, boulder outcrops, under canopy of red urchins rocky reefs, kelp beds, boulder outcrops largest abalone species in the world planktonic 4-7 days low
Abalone, threaded 20-80 South, mainland and islands crevices in rocky reefs, kelp beds rocky reefs, kelp beds some consider it a subspecies of Pinto abalone planktonic 4-7 days low
Abalone, white 80-200 South, mainland and islands exposed rocky areas exposed rocky areas maximum age estimated at 40 years planktonic 4-7 days low
Squid, market 0 to at least 600 NC,SC,S over soft bottom over soft bottom short-lived; average squid in commercial fishery is year old. planktonic unknown high
Clam, California jackknife Intertidal to South, mainland and islands sandy mud, estuaries sandy mud, estuaries occupies a permanent burrow planktonic unknown low
Clam, chione
(several species)
Intertidal to 165 South, mainland and islands sandy mud, estuaries sandy mud, estuaries smooth chione subject to habitat loss due to harbor development planktonic unknown low
Clam, littleneck
(several species)
Intertidal All regions, including islands cobble beds cobble beds prized food item planktonic unknown low
Clam, gaper
(several species)
Intertidal to 150 All regions sand, sand/mud, estuaries sand, sand/mud, estuaries may live to 17 years planktonic unknown low
Clam, geoduck 0-360 All regions sand, sand/mud, estuaries sand, sand/mud, estuaries individuals may exceed 10 pounds planktonic 2 weeks low
Clam, Manila Intertidal All regions sand, sand/mud, estuaries sand, sand/mud, estuaries introduced from Japan; important recreational species planktonic 3 weeks low
Clam, Pismo Intertidal to 80 SC,S exposed sand exposed sand primary prey item of California sea otters planktonic pelagic phase 2-3 days low
Clam, razor Intertidal and shallow subtidal N,NC,SC exposed sand exposed sand individuals can bury themselves in 7 seconds planktonic 8 weeks low
Clam, softshell Intertidal N,NC,SC mud mud may have been introduced with eastern oyster planktonic unknown low
Clam, Washington
(several species)
Intertidal to 100 All regions sand/mud, estuaries sand/mud, estuaries known to concentrate paralytic shellfish poisoning toxin planktonic 4 weeks low
Cockles Intertidal to 660 All regions, including islands sand, sand/mud, mud, estuaries sand, sand/mud, mud, estuaries one species may live to 16 years planktonic unknown low
Limpets Intertidal to 100 All regions, including islands rocky reefs rocky reefs some species may live 15 years planktonic less than 1 week low
Mussels
(several species)
Intertidal to 130 All regions, including islands rocky reefs, pilings rocky reefs, pilings bio-accumulator of toxins planktonic 1 month low
Octopus
(several species)
Intertidal to 660 All regions, including islands rocky reefs, kelp beds, soft bottom rocky reefs, kelp beds, soft bottom eggs are attached to substrate and brooded by females planktonic 1 month or less low
Scallop, rock Intertidal to 100 All regions, including islands rocky reefs, pier pilings, rock jetties rocky reefs, pier pilings, rock jetties intolerant of salinity less than 25 ppt planktonic 5 weeks low
Sea hare
(two species)
0-60 NC,SC,S hard and soft bottom, kelp beds hard and soft bottom, kelp beds large nerve ganglia make them useful for research planktonic 4-5 weeks low
Sea stars
(many species)
Intertidal to deepest canyons All regions, including islands rocky reefs, hard bottom, sand rocky reefs, hard bottom, sand some species adapted to exposure at low tides planktonic unknown low
Snail, moon Intertidal to 500 All regions, including islands soft bottom soft bottom has aquiferous system of spongy sinuses in foot planktonic 2 weeks low
Snail, top
(several species)
0-100 S rocky reefs, kelp beds, including canopy rocky reefs, kelp beds, including canopy common in upper kelp canopy planktonic unknown low
Snail, turban
(several species)
Intertidal to 250 All regions, including islands shallower rocky reefs, kelp beds, including canopy rocky reefs, kelp beds, including canopy feeds primarily on kelp and coralline algae planktonic unknown low
Whelk, Kellet's 0-230 South, including islands rocky reefs, kelp beds, gravel, sand rocky reefs, kelp beds, gravel, sand spawning aggregations of up to 20 individuals occur in spring planktonic unknown low
Worms (polychaetes) Intertidal to deepest canyons All rocky reefs in mussel beds, cobble beds, soft bottom rocky reefs in mussel beds, cobble beds, soft bottom several species have toothed proboscis planktonic variable low

Algae

Species Primary depth range in feet
( x 0.305 = meters)
Primary Geographic range within state using four regions Habitat Preference juveniles Habitat Preference adults Unique or significant life history characteristics Larval type Larval duration
[potential larval dispersal]
Potential for adult dispersal
Gelidium sp.
(many species)
Intertidal, to 100 All regions, including islands rocky reefs rocky reefs may forms mats of algal turf not applicable not applicable none
Gracilaria sp.
(many species)
Intertidal to 50 All regions, including islands soft bottoms soft bottoms used as spawning substrate by herring in SF Bay not applicable not applicable none
Porphyra sp.
(many species)
Intertidal to 100 All regions, including islands rocky reefs rocky reefs may be common in high-energy surf zones not applicable not applicable none
Sea palm Intertidal N,NC,SC exposed rocky reefs exposed rocky reefs individuals can regenerate blades but not stipe not applicable not applicable none
Kelp, giant 20-120 NC,SC,S on sand and rock substrate on sand and rock substrate fronds may grow up to 24 inches per day not applicable not applicable none
Kelp, bull 10-70 N,NC,SC on rock or cobble substrate on rock or cobble substrate found where water temp is less than 60 F not applicable not applicable none


Marine Region (Region 7)
Regional Manager: Dr. Craig Shuman
Main Office: 20 Lower Ragsdale Drive, Suite 100, Monterey, CA  93940
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