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British Marine Life Study Society

Velvet Swimming Crab


Common Name(s):
 

Scientific Name:
Necora puber
Family:
Portunidae (to check) 
Subfamily:

Usual Size: 

         Photographs by Andy Horton
Identification:
Photographs: 
 
     
Medium sized. Carapace broader than it is long. Two powerful claws. Rear legs rounded. 
Colour:
 
Similar species: 
Breeding:
 
 
     
     
     
     
     
     
Habitat:
 

Food:

Range:
All British coasts. 
 

5 December 2014

Blue Velvet Swimming Crab (=Lady Crab), Necora puber
Photograph by Richard Lord
Sealord Photography

  
Shane Huxter found a blue-coloured Velvet Swimming Crab (Lady Crab in Guernsey), Necora puber, in Belle Greve Bay, on the east coast of Guernsey. The shell colour of Necora puber is normally blue but the crab is usually covered in a fine brown 'hair' which gives it an olive-green colour. This individual's bright blue shell colour might be a genetic variation to the normal colour.


6 January 2011
A mass stranding of crabs occurred on the Isle of Thanet coast, Kent; about 40,000 Velvet Swimming Crabs, Necora puber, were discovered on the strandline amongst lesser numbers of molluscs, sea anemones, sponges and other washed up invertebrates. The most likely reason for this mass death was hypothermia.


13 January 2010
A mass stranding of crabs occurred on the Isle of Thanet coast, Kent; the crabs have been reported on beaches at Westbrook, Cliftonville and Kingsgate, while smaller numbers have been washed up between Broadstairs and Ramsgate. Most of the crabs were the Velvet Swimming Crab, Necora puber, which inhabits the shallow seas beneath the intertidal zone, over rocky substrates.


.
A bright blue specimen of the Velvet Swimming Crab, Necora puber, was collected by a diver at Thatcher's Rock, Torbay, Devon in the spring of 1998. Also a bright red specimen of this swimming crab was collected by Jon Makeham from the shore at Looe in October 1998
 

Bionomics:
Enemies:  anything that can swallow it, depending on size and location. 
 
 

Additional Notes:
Why do crabs walk sideways?
Moulting cycle in Crustacea


Largest Crabs
 
 

Western Morning News - Thursday, July 21, 2011

A giant crab more than three times heavier and almost twice as big as normal has 
emerged from the deep after being caught by a Westcountry fisherman.
The velvet swimming crab also known as a devil or witch crab was caught by 
Mylor fisherman Ned Bailey in a crab pot about a quarter of a mile south east of 
St Anthony Lighthouse in Falmouth Bay, Cornwall.
Normal specimens usually weigh around 90 grams or 3.2 ounces, with a shell that 
measures six centimetres 2.4 inches across.
However this crab tips the scales at a whopping 268 grams or 9.5 ounces and is 
more than 10 cm or 4 in across.
It has been donated to Newquay's Blue Reef Aquarium. Blue Reef curator Matt 
Slater said: "We're still not sure that he's the biggest ever caught in the UK 
but he's certainly the largest anyone here has ever seen and he's significantly 
heavier and longer than anything we can find in our reference books.
"A crustacean's size and weight are all due to a number of different factors 
including diet, environment and even water temperature.
"It may also be that this is a particularly old individual but even taking all 
those factors into account he really is a bit of a monster and very feisty 
with it," he added.
They get their name from the dense, velvety hair on their shells.

http://www.thisiscornwall.co.uk/Giant-deep-captured-fisherman-s-pot/story-12980335-detail/story.html
 

Doug Herdson
Marine Fish Information Services
94 Dunstone View
Plymstock
Plymouth. PL9 8QW
Email: Douglas.Herdson@btinternet.com
Telephone: +44(0)1752 405155
 
 



 
 
 

Information wanted: Please send any unusual records of this crab, with location, date, who discovered it, how it was identified, prevalence, size, whether 'in berry', common name and any other details to 
Shorewatch Project    EMail Glaucus@hotmail.com.
All messages will receive a reply. 

  Wet Thumb (Marine Aquaria)
 
 
Shorewatch Project
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