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Asian shore crab Asian shore crab  Asian shore crab  Asian shore crab 

  Scientific Name:

Hemigrapsus sanguineus

 Common Name:

Asian shore crab

 Native Range:

Coasts of China, Hong Kong, Korea, Russia, and Japan

 Established Range:

South Carolina to Canada

 Established in Rhode Island?

Yes, throughout Narragansett Bay

 Date and Location of Introduction:

1988, Cape May County, New Jersey

 Method of Introduction:

Unknown, but most likely ballast water


H. sanguineus generally occupies the subtidal and intertidal rocky shoreline, with a marked preference for cobble beaches with an abundance of long, flat rocks. It has also been known to live on man-made structures such as seawalls and artificial reefs, and can tolerate a wide range of water salinities and temperatures.


H. sanguineusis a highly opportunistic omnivore that has been known to feed on algae, juvenile fish, snails, barnacles, and worms.

 Average Lifespan:

3 to 5 years


The average breeding season for H. sanguineusis from May to September. During this time, a female can bear 2 to 4 clutches of eggs, with approximately 50,000 eggs per clutch. In Narragansett Bay, breeding peaks in June (Raposa and Morito, 2007).


H. sanguineuscauses a number of problems when it is introducted to a new habitat. First, because it is aggressive and omnivorous, it easily outcompetes native marine invertebrates for food and space. It has a voracious appetite and has been known to feed on commercially important species, such as larval lobsters. Secondly, because H. sanguineusis capable of reproducing multiple times in a season, they easily outnumber local rock crabs, and have the potential to displace them entirely.


There are no known control methods at this time.

 Identification Card:

Courtesy of Salem Sound Coastwatch


 Works Cited:

ISSG. 2006. Ecology of Hemigrapsus sanguineus. The Global Invasive Species Database.

Ledesma, M.E. and N.J. O'Connor. 2001. Habitat and Diet of the Non-Native Crab Hemigrapsus sanguineus in Southeastern New England. Northeastern Naturalist. 8:1, p. 63-78. USGS. 2009. Asian shore crab. Southeast Ecological Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey, Gainesville, FL.