Invasive Species of Concern

Chinese Mitten Crab
Eriocheir sinensis

caulerpa, noaa fisheries photo

Chinese Mitten Crab
USFWS photo

The Chinese mitten crab (Eriocheir sinensis) is native to the rivers and estuaries of central Asia, from the west coast of North Korea to south of Shanghai, China (Panning 1939). It is easily identified by the dense patches of setae found on the white-tipped chelae (claws) of larger juveniles and adults; it is these "hairy mittens" that gives this crab its common name.

This species was introduced into the Bay–Delta in the late 1980's or early 1990's and increased in population until reaching a peak in 1998. The mitten crab's ability to become established in high numbers garnered attention from agencies, non-governmental organizations, and various stakeholders (ANSTF 2003).

The Chinese mitten crab has now been found areas on the east Coast of the United States. For information on the east Coast populations visit Smithonian Environmental Research Center mitten crab watch.