An official website of the United States government.

The .gov means it’s official.
Federal government websites always use a .gov or .mil domain. Before sharing sensitive information online, make sure you’re on a .gov or .mil site by inspecting your browser’s address (or “location”) bar.

This site is also protected by an SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) certificate that’s been signed by the U.S. government. The https:// means all transmitted data is encrypted — in other words, any information or browsing history that you provide is transmitted securely.

Home / Aquatic Invasives / Aquatic Invertebrates / European Green Crab

European Green Crab

View all resources
European green crab
European green crab, adult - Photo by Caleb Siemmons; National Ecological Observatory Network
Scientific Name: 
Carcinus maenas (Linnaeus, 1758) (ITIS)
Common Name: 
European green crab, shore crab, Joe rocker
Native To: 
Date of U.S. Introduction: 
1817 (East Coast); 1980s (West Coast) (Carlton and Cohen 2003)
Means of Introduction: 
Possibly through ballast water, hull fouling, or intentional releases (Carlton and Cohen 2003)
Preys on bivalves and other crustaceans, such as soft-shell clams and scallops (Grosholz and Ruiz 2002)
Current U.S. Distribution: 
North Atlantic coast; Pacific Coast


DOC. NOAA. Fisheries.

Natural resource managers in British Columbia discovered several adult male and female European green crabs on Haida Gwaii this past July. Alarm bells immediately went off for biologists in Alaska. The archipelago of Haida Gwaii, off the coast of Prince Rupert in British Columbia, is very close to Alaska. The July discovery is the closest confirmed finding of the invasive crustacean since it was first detected in the San Francisco Bay area in 1989.



Google. YouTube; Fisheries and Oceans Canada.

Google. YouTube; EarthFix Media.

Selected Resources

The section below contains highly relevant resources for this species, organized by source. Or, to display all related content view all resources for European Green Crab.

Council or Task Force

Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office. Washington Invasive Species Council.

Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force.

San Francisco Estuary Institute; Center for Research on Aquatic Bioinvasions.

IUCN. Species Survival Commission. Invasive Species Specialist Group.
Northeast Aquatic Nuisance Species Panel.

Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, Galveston Bay Estuary Program; Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC).

Texas State University System. Texas Invasive Species Institute.

Federal Government

Smithsonian Institution. Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. Marine Invasions Research Lab.

DOI. USGS. Wetland and Aquatic Research Center.

Provides distribution maps and collection information (State and County).

International Government

New South Wales Department of Primary Industries (Australia).

State and Local Government
Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife.
Alaska Department of Fish and Game.

University of Delaware. Delaware Sea Grant College Program.

See also: Delaware's Invasive Crabs for more story maps

Washington Sea Grant.
Columbia University. Center for Environmental Research and Conservation.

Prince William Sound Regional Citizens' Advisory Council.

See also: Marine Invasive Species for more fact sheets