The red king crab (RKC) is a large invasive species inhabiting bottom communities in the Barents Sea. Larval stages of RKC play an important role in determining the spread and recruitment of the population in the coastal waters. We present a review of studies concerned with the ecology of RKC larvae in the Barents Sea focusing on their dynamics and role in the trophic food webs as well as on the role of environmental factors in driving RKC zoeae. Zoeal stages are larger, and their development time is shorter in the Barents Sea compared to the North Pacific. RKC larvae appear in late January–February and can be found in the coastal plankton until mid-July. Mass hatching of RKC larvae in the Barents Sea starts in late March-early April. The highest densities of RKC larvae are located in small semi-enclosed bays and inlets with weak water exchange or local eddies as well as in inner parts of fjords. Size structures of the zoeal populations are similar in the inshore waters to the west of Kola Bay but slightly differ from those in more eastern regions. RKC larvae perform daily vertical migrations and move to deeper depths during bright daylight hours and tend to rise during night hours. RKC larvae are plankton feeders that ingest both phyto- and zooplankton. A set of environmental variables including food conditions, water temperature, and advective influence are the most important factors driving the spatial distribution, phenology, survival rates, development, growth, and interannual fluctuations of RKC larvae. Recent climatic changes in the Arctic may have both negative and positive consequences for RKC larvae.
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