European Green Crab

European Green Crab, or carcinus maenus, is a small shore crab with roughly hexagonal or “fan shaped” carapace (shell) usually mottled and varies in colour from bright green when newly molted to dark green, orange, or red.

Distinguished from other crabs by having fine spines along the edge of the shell on each side, between the eye and the widest part of the shell and 3 rounded lobed between the eyes. The shell width can be up to 10 cm (3.5 inches).

Green Crabs have 4 pairs of walking legs; the hind pair being somewhat flattened and two claws which are of equal size.

European Green Crab may compete with native crab and lobster species for food and shelter. Green Crabs feed upon many shellfish species such as clams and mussels as well as other crabs, small crustaceans and juvenile fishes.

Means of introuduction

Due to long larval phase European Green Crabs are thought to be spread by ballast water transfers.

Management of the species

Shellfish harvesters should take care to thoroughly examine harvested shellfish and fishing gear prior to transferring to another area. Report sightings by using the contact information on the main AIS page.

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