Lithodes santolla, also known as the southern king crab, Chilean king crab or centolla, is a species of king crab, found off southern South America, including the offshore Falkland Islands. On the Pacific side, it is found in Chile from Valdivia at around 40° S to Cape Horn at 60° S. On the Atlantic side, it is found off Argentina and Uruguay. It lives in the benthic zone at depths of 0–700 m (0–2,300 ft). In Chile, it mostly lives at depths to 150 m (490 ft), but south of 40° S it has been found at 600 m (2,000 ft). It is a large crab that can reach up to 19 cm (7.5 in) in carapace length.
The lucrative centolla fishery around Tierra del Fuego led to an incident in August 1967 when the Argentine schooner Cruz del Sur was found fishing 400 metres (1,300 ft) from Gable Island and had to be escorted out of Chilean waters by the Chilean patrol boat Marinero Fuentealba. This event among many others led to the Beagle conflict in the late 1970s.
The United States Food and Drug Administration lists the centolla crab and southern king crab as two separate species: Lithodes antarcticus and Lithodes santolla respectively. Other sources consider Lithodes antarcticus to be a synonym of Lithodes santolla.
A study has found that L. santolla is capable of withstanding long periods of aerial exposure with no detrimental effect on crab survival, opening the possibility of commercializing L. santolla in the attractive live seafood market.
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- WoRMS (2019). "Lithodes santolla (Molina, 1782)". WoRMS. World Register of Marine Species. Retrieved May 29, 2019.
- "Pesquera Melinka en Punta Arenas ofrece Centolla, Centollón y Caracoles". Servicios Agrícolas y Agroindustria. Retrieved January 17, 2009. CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
- Patricia Arancibia Clavel & Francisco Bulnes Serrano (2004). La Escuadra En Acción: 1978: el conflicto Chile-Argentina visto a través de sus protagonistas (in Spanish). Santiago: Maval Ltda. ISBN 956-258-211-6.
- "Seafood List". U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Archived from the original on 21 September 2013.
- Urbina, M.A., Paschke, K., Gebauer, P., Cumillaf, J.P., Rosas, C. 2013. Physiological responses of the southern king crab, Lithodes santolla (Decapoda: Lithodidae), to aerial exposure. Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology A, 166(4), 538-545.
- Media related to Lithodes santolla at Wikimedia Commons