Chinese Mitten Crab (Eriocheir sinensis)



Chinese mitten crab (Eriocheir sinensis)

Photo courtesy of GB Non Native Species Secretariat

To view NBN location data click here



  • Most of life cycle is in rivers, but must migrate to the sea to breed.
  • Burrowing in high density populations damages and weakens river banks increasing erosion and this affects flood defences (documented in Europe and North America).
  • There is concern (UK and Ireland) about the impact of this species on some native fish species.
  • Additional negative impacts, such as loss of biodiversity and recruitment of commercial species can be expected.
  • Economic impacts associated in Germany known to have cost at least 80 million Euros in monetary value.
  • It is an intermediate host for the mammalian lung fluke Paragonimus ringer, known to infect humans.
  • Ship ballast water and hull fouling.
  • Live food trade and smuggling (mitten crab is a delicacy).
  • Historic evidence elsewhere has shown that crabs are imported live illegally to markets.
  • Once present it can colonise new river systems by walking over land.
  • Planktonic stage in its life cycle can facilitate further distribution through water transfer.



Do not introduce into the wild. Remove ballast water in situ and if possible inspect and hose down hull before moving between catchments.

Physical Control

None known

Chemical Control

None undertaken

Biological Control

None known


Non Native Species Secretariat identification guide

Non Native Species Secretariat Fact Sheet

Invasive Species Ireland Fact Sheet

Daisie Species Fact Sheets

Global Invasive Species Database

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