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You are here: Home / Aquatic Species / Species Profiles / Chinese Mitten Crab
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Chinese Mitten Crab

Chinese Mitten CrabScientific name: Eriocheir sinensis (ITIS)

Common name: Chinese mitten crab

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  • Mitten Crab Watch
    Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.
    Are you a crabber, waterman, or concerned citizen? SERC needs your help to detect and assess the status of Chinese Mitten Crabs along the Atlantic and the Gulf Coasts. This site provides information on the invasion of the mitten crab and allows users to more easily report catches.

    Mitten Crabs can have economic and ecological impacts in their introduced range, especially during periods of high abundance. Effects of mitten crabs on the East Coast are not yet known, because this is a relatively recent invasion and has not been studied. The first confirmed record on the East Coast was in 2005, a crab was caught by a commercial crabber in the Chesapeake Bay near Baltimore, Maryland.

Selected Resources

Native To: Pacific coast of China and Korea (NAS Database)

Date of U.S. Introduction: 1991 (West Coast); 2005 (East Coast) (NAS Database)

Means of Introduction: Ballast water (also possibly through intentional releases) (Cohen and Carlton 1997)

Impact: Interference with fish salvage operations, fish passage facilities, water treatment plants, power plants, and other facilities (Cohen and Weinstein 2001)

Current U.S. Distribution: West Coast; Great Lakes; Chesapeake Bay

Federally Regulated:

  • Injurious Wildlife
    DOI. FWS. Fish and Aquatic Conservation.
    Includes species listed as injurious wildlife under the Federal Lacey Act, which makes it illegal in the U.S. to import, export, or transport between States without a permit.



Selected Resources:


Chinese Mitten Crab
Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force.


Invasive Species Compendium - Eriocheir sinensis
CAB International.

Delivering Alien Invasive Species Inventories for Europe (DAISIE): Species Factsheet - Eriocheir sinensis
European Commission. Sixth Framework Programme.

Chinese Mitten Crab
Great Britain Non-Native Species Secretariat.

Chinese Mitten Crab
Narragansett Bay Research Reserve. Coastal Training Program. Rhode Island Marine & Estuarine Invasive Species Site.

NOBANIS: Invasive Alien Species Fact Sheet - Eriocheir sinensis (2011; PDF | 441 KB)
European Network on Invasive Alien Species.

Mitten Crab
Northeast Aquatic Nuisance Species Panel

Global Invasive Species Database - Eriocheir sinensis (crustacean)
World Conservation Union. Invasive Species Specialist Group.


National Exotic Marine and Estuarine Species Information System (NEMESIS): Chesapeake Bay Introduced Species Database - Eriocheir sinensis
Smithsonian Institution. Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. Marine Invasions Research Lab.

Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database - Eriocheir sinensis
DOI. USGS. Southeast Ecological Science Center.
Provides distribution maps and collection information (State and County).


California's Invaders: Chinese Mitten Crab
California Department of Fish and Wildlife.

Chinese Mitten Crab Watch
Maryland Department of Natural Resources.

Chinese Mitten Crab Alert for the Hudson River Estuary
New York Department of Environmental Conservation.

Invasive Species - Chinese Mitten Crab
Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.


Chinese Mitten Crab
Texas State University System. Institute for the Study of Invasive Species.

Fact Sheet: Chinese Mitten Crab (PDF | 247 KB)
Pennsylvania State University. Pennsylvania Sea Grant.

Chinese Mitten Crab Facts
Washington Sea Grant.


Chinese mitten crab
Guide to Invasive Species of the Galveston Bay Area.

Chinese mitten crab research
Natural History Museum (United Kingdom).

Chinese Mitten Crab - Non-Indigenous Aquatic Species of Concern for Alaska (PDF | 120 KB)
Prince William Sound Regional Citizens' Advisory Council.


Cohen, A.N. and J.T. Carlton. 1997. Transoceanic transport mechanisms: introduction of the Chinese mitten crab, Eriocheir sinensis, to California. Pacific Science 51(1):1-11.

Cohen, A.N. and A. Weinstein. 2001. The Potential Distribution of Chinese Mitten Crabs (Eriocheir sinensis) in Selected Waters of the Western United States with U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Facilities (PDF | 4.9 MB) (Tracy Fish Collection Facilities Studies, Vol. 21). U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.

Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Eriocheir sinensis. [Accessed Sep 10, 2014].

Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. Eriocheir sinensis. USGS, Gainesville, FL. [Accessed Sep 16, 2014].

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Last Modified: Nov 18, 2015
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