Asian shore crab

Asian shore crab

Asian shore crab (Hemigrapsus sanguineus)

Not established in Australia

Features: 3 spines on side of eyes. Banding pattern on walking legs. Spots on claws. Square green-purple to orange-brown shell, up to 4cm wide.
Habitat: Under rocks, shells, debris or artificial structures, generally hard substrates.
Affects: Native species, aquaculture operations.
Movement: Vessels.

Body contents

Asian shore crab (Hemigrapsus sanguineus) competes with and preys on crabs, and shellfish, particularly juvenile mussels or oysters.

What to look for


  • square, green–purple to orange–brown shell
  • 3 spines to sides of eyes
  • banding pattern on walking legs
  • spots on claws
  • shell up to 4cm wide.
Asian shore crab

Where to look

Look in or around:

  • artificial structures
  • under debris, rocks and shells
  • mud.

Likely habitats include:

  • exposed rocky coasts
  • shores (including tidal flats) and shallow waters.

Similar native species

These native species look similar to Asian shore crab. They do not need to be reported.

Cyclograpsus species

Asian shore crab


  • yellow shell with mottled red, brown and purple markings
  • no spines to sides of eyes
  • smooth rounded shell up to 4cm wide.


  • sheltered or moderately exposed rocky and boulder-covered shores.

Paragrapsus species

Asian shore crab


  • yellow–brown shell with dark red spots
  • 3 spines to sides of eyes
  • first walking legs have felt patch on inner side
  • shell up to 4.5cm wide.


  • burrows into mud and under stones
  • estuaries and sheltered coasts
  • shores and shallow waters, up to 1.5m deep.

Known locations are south of Narooma, New South Wales, Victoria, Tasmania, and South Australia.


Report it

See something unusual? Report it. Even if you’re not sure.

If you see something you think is a pest:

  • note the exact location (screenshot your map app or enable photo geotagging on your phone)
  • take a photo (use something for size reference, like a coin or note)
  • contact your state or territory authority.


Stop the spread of marine pests

Start with these simple steps:

  • Inspect and clean your boat or yacht. Make sure you check hard to reach areas.
  • Treat the hull of your boat or yacht regularly.
  • Clean and dry your fishing and diving gear after every use.

How you can stop the spread of marine pests.

Your location

Check our marine pests map.

The map shows known pests and pests to look for around Australia.