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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Common Shore Crab Carcinus maenas

The common shore crab tolerates a wide range of salt concentrations and temperatures and so can live in salt marshes and estuaries as well as along the shoreline. Its dark green carapace has five marked serrations on the edge behind the eyes. The common shore crab is an opportunistic hunter that preys voraciously on many types of animals, including bivalve mollusks, polychaetes, jellyfish, and small crustaceans. Where introduced, it may be detrimental to local marine life. On the west coast of the US, for example, the common shore crab has had a considerable impact on the shellfish industry.

Common Shore Crabzoom image
  • Subphylum Crustacea
  • Length Up to 2 in (6 cm)
  • Habitat Intertidal zone to 200 ft (60 m), all substrates; estuaries
  • Distribution Northeastern Atlantic from Norway to West Africa; introduced elsewhere
Common Shore Crab habitat mapzoom image