PUGETTIA PRODUCTA, THE OSTENSIBLE EPICUREAN
The kelp crab of the northeastern Pacific coast, Pugettia producta, has long been believed to be a facultative herbivore, feeding on macroalgae in the warmer months and on small invertebrates when algae are unavailable. Many claims have been made as to which algae are preferred, information important to determining the ecological role of this small brachyuran, most recently and convincingly Nereocystis luetkeana. Here, two non-kelp species are evaluated alongside two kelp species in a standard feeding preference assay. Results indicate that P. producta may prefer Ulva spp. over kelp species, the algal type to which it is most often ascribed a preference.