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Chinese Mitten Crab, Eriocheir sinensis


Short description of Eriocheir sinensis, Chinese Mitten Crab

A large crab with a maximum carapace (body) length of 56 mm. The carapace is quite square in outline, narrowing towards the front and has four teeth on each side. Olive green in colour with paler legs, which are twice the length of the body. The most obvious distinguishing feature of the Chinese mitten crab is the dense mat of hair on the claws. The leading edges of the legs are also very hairy.

Description of Eriocheir sinensis, Chinese Mitten Crab status in GB

Now established in the Rivers Thames, Medway and Ouse and recorded from several sites throughout England and Wales, including the rivers Tyne, Tamar and Dee and Southfields Reservoir near Castleford, Yorkshire.

Habitat summary: Eriocheir sinensis, Chinese Mitten Crab

Juveniles occur in lower estuaries and marine habitats. As they develop, young crabs migrate upstream, into freshwater and brackish systems. Adults usually live in burrows in muddy riverbanks, although aquatic vegetation and marshes may provide an alternative habitat. Adults migrate into deep, open, saltwater locations to reproduce.

Overview table

Environment: Marine and Freshwater
Species status: Non-Native
Native range: Eastern Europe, Eastern Asia
Functional type: Omnivore
Status in England: Non-Native
Status in Scotland: Non-Native
Status in Wales: Non-Native
Location of first record: Thames Estuary
Date of first record: 1935

Distribution map

Map of the UK with areas shaded to show the UK distribution of Chinese Mitten Crab

GB Distribution from NBN Atlas

Author's name:

Jack Sewell

Last updated:

September 22nd 2016

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