European Green Crab

Carcinus maenas (Linnaeus, 1758)

Information Invasive Species This is an invasive species please GO HERE for more details

This crab varies in colour a lot and looks similar to other native species although is an invasive crab listed amongst the 100 most damaging intruders in the world coming in at number 18. It is an aggressive feeder and can outcompete native species for food, now widespread and common species in Tasmania and considered naturalised. Unfortunately this means there is little that can be done to remove this crab as it's range expands around the world.

Believed to have been introduced in Australia a century ago in dry ballast it has since spread across the southern states, Tasmania, Victoria and South Australia.

Locally it is common along Tomahawk Beach, West Tomahawk Beach and Waterhouse Conservation Area, from beachcombing to foraging through rock pools you are sure to come across this species.

Similar Species include Ovalipes australiensis, Nectocarcinus integrifrons, Nectocarcinus tuberculosus

How to identify Carcinus maenas?

To identify this crab look at the shape of the carapace in particular look at the notches or anterolateral teeth (the triangular shaped spines) to the outside of the eyes, there needs to be 5 teeth and the last leg does not have a swimming paddle it is pointed rather than rounded. The images below are to help show you these features

What habitats does Carcinus maenas live in?

This versatile crab can survive in many environments from low salinities of around 4% up to around 52% and temperature ranges from 0 to 30 °C. Locally it is found along shore lines and estuaries under rocks and shore debris

What is the distribution of Carcinus maenas?

Native to European and North African coasts, in Australia it is found from NSW to South Australia including around Tasmania

How big does Carcinus maenas grow?

Can grow up to 70mm across the carapace, although larger specimens have been found up to 100mm

Files & Downloads
Common Name:
Family Name:
Conservation Status:
Provided by The Atlas of Living Australia
Species Added:
Species Updated:
Sorry I do not have any videos for this species at the moment I am working hard to bring more video content as often as I can

Disclaimer: A lot of work goes into trying to identify and ensure accurate identifications are made and that the listed Descriptions, Sizes, Habitats and Distribution information is as accurate and valid as possible. Unfortunately, information in this arena is ever changing and as such no guarantee can be offered that it is correct or currently valid as a result the information is provided as a guide, and it is always suggested that you do a little research to ensure you have the latest and most accurate information. View the reference's or bibliography I welcome any feedback and comments on the information provided.

Take me back up