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