Shore Crab

Carcinus maenas


Probably the commonest crab in Britain, the Common Shore Crab is a medium-sized crab which lives amongst rocks and seaweed from mid shore down to beyond the low tide mark. It feeds on detritus and small animals. During the summer breeding season, a male will find a female and grab hold of her until she moults; at which point they are able to mate.

How to identify

The commonest crab on our beaches, with pointed spines around the front of the 'face'. Very variable in colour, often greenish, red or brown.

Where to find it

Found all around our coasts.


When to find it

  • January
  • February
  • March
  • April
  • May
  • June
  • July
  • August
  • September
  • October
  • November
  • December

How can people help

Crustaceans provide a vital link in the food chain for many of our rarer species. Our seas and coastline are in need of protection if we are to keep our marine wildlife healthy. The Wildlife Trusts are working with fishermen, researchers, politicians and local people towards a vision of 'Living Seas', where marine wildlife thrives. This work has recently had a massive boost with the passing of the Marine Bill, promising sustainable development of the UK's marine environment. Do your bit for our Living Seas by supporting your local Wildlife Trust.

Species information

Common name
Shore Crab
Latin name
Carcinus maenas
Barnacles, crabs, shrimps and lobster
Width of body: 9cm
Conservation status