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Eriocheir sinensis
Image courtesy of Leif-Matthias Herborg
Eriocheir sinensis
Taxonomic Group: Crustaceans-Crabs


The Chinese Mitten Crab, Eriocheir sinensis, is native to China where it ranges from the Bohai Sea and the Southern coast of South Korea, south to Macau, near Hong Kong. This crab is catadromous, breeding in brackish-to-marine waters, and moving upstream as a juvenile to mature in fresh water, sometimes up to 1000 km from the sea. It has been introduced throughout Europe and North America. In Europe, it was first discovered in Germany in 1912 and now ranges from Sweden and Finland to the Atlantic coast of Spain and into the Black Sea. It has established populations on the East and West Coasts of US. Its long planktonic stage suggests that ballast water is a likely introduction vector, but some populations may have been introduced through ‘live trade’. Eriocheir sinensis was listed by the Invasive Species Specialist Group of the World Conservation Union (IUCN) as one of the ‘100 worst invasive species’. It has had economic and ecological impacts throughout its introduced range.

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Fofonoff PW, Ruiz GM, Steves B, Simkanin C, & Carlton JT (2018)
National Exotic Marine and Estuarine Species Information System.
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Marine Invasions Lab
Smithsonian Environmental Research Center

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