California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Bay Delta Region

Main Office
  7329 Silverado Trail
  Napa, CA 94558
  (707) 944-5500

Stockton Office
  2109 Arch Airport Rd
  Stockton, CA 95206
  (209) 234-3420

Regional Manager:
Scott Wilson

Chinese Mitten Crab Identification

[ Chinese Mitten Crab ]

Adult Characteristics

  • hairy claws with white tips, normally equal in size
  • notch between the eyes
  • four lateral carapace spines (fourth spine is small)
  • smooth, round carapace or body shape
  • maximum carapace width (distance across the back) is approximately 80 mm (3 inches)
  • legs over twice as long as the carapace width
  • light brown color
  • sex is indicated by width of abdomen
 

[ Juvenile Chinese Mittin Crab ]

Juvenile Mitten Crab Characteristics

  • notch between the eyes
  • claws may not be hairy if carapace width is less than 20 mm (¾ inch)
  • claws are hairy by 25 mm (1 inch) carapace width
  • four lateral carapace spines (fourth spine is small)
  • smooth, round carapace or body shape
  • legs over twice as long as the carapace width
  • light brown color
 

[ Harris Crab ]

Harris Mud Crab Characteristics

Small mitten crabs may be confused with the Harris mud crab, because of their similar size and appearance.

  • no notch between the eyes
  • non-hairy, white-tipped claws
  • ridges on back
  • dull greenish-brown color
  • maximum carapace width is 19 mm (¾ inch)