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Mitten Crab

Eriocheir sinensis

A Mitten Crab standing on sand underwater

Max Size: 10 cm (carapace width) (4 inches)

Habitat: Native to East Asia where they range from Northern China to Korea. Introduced to shorelines in Europe and North America.

Diet: Detritus, submerged plants, invertebrates and fish eggs

Fun Facts:

  • Mitten crabs have been introduced to various shorelines across the globe where they can have problematic impacts on local environments. They can contribute to increased shoreline erosion by burrowing and also compete for resources with native species.
  • Mitten crabs get their name from the presence of hair on their claws, giving them the appearance of wearing “fuzzy” mittens. The purpose of this fur is currently unknown.
  • Besides their signature hairy claws, mitten crabs can be best identified from other crabs by the presence of four marginal spines (that look like small spikes) on either side of their eyes, as well as a distinct notch between them.
  • Any mitten crab sightings in New York State should be reported to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to help better understand the presence of this species in our waterways.