Species Information

Asian shore crab Asian shore crab
N. Balcom, CT Sea Grant
Asian shore crab
N. Balcom, CT Sea Grant
Asian shore crab
Hemigrapsus sanguineus

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• First recorded in the United States at Townsend Inlet, Cape May County, New Jersey in 1988
• May have been introduced via discharge of ship ballast water transported from the western North Pacific Ocean


• Commonly orange-brown, also green and maroon
• Light and dark bands on legs with red spots on the claws
• Square-shaped carapace (shell) with 3 spines on each side
• Can grow up to 2-3 in (5-7.6 cm) wide


• Prefers rocks and cobble, but may be found in soft sediments and other habitats
• Primarily in mid to low intertidal zones; sometimes below the low-tide line
• Tolerant of a wide range of salinity and temperature
• Tends to aggregate in large numbers under rocks

Known Distribution in the Northeast

• Maine to North Carolina
• Native to Russia, Korea, China, and Japan


• Eats young clams, mussels, oysters, larval and juvenile fish, algae, salt marsh grass, and many other species
• May threaten aquaculture

Closeup of Asian shore crab
Save the Bay
Asian shore crab
Asian shore crab
Save the Bay

Protecting the marine and freshwater resources of the Northeast from invasive aquatic nuisance species