Marine Pest Alert: Asian Shore Crab Spotted in Victoria

Agriculture Victoria have released a marine pest alert for the Asian shore crab after a possible sighting in Mount Martha and Ricketts Point.

The eradication of marine pests is extremely difficult. It is important to immediately report any sightings.


In late October, a member of the public photographed an Asian shore crab (Hemigrapsus sanguineus) at Mount Martha in Port Phillip Bay. In early November, another member of the community also reported an Asian shore crab from Ricketts Point. The species can spread rapidly and may consume and outcompete our native species including commercially important scallops, mussels and oysters. The Asian shore crab could also spread devastating disease to our native prawns, crabs and lobsters.

Originally from the waters around Japan, Russia, North China and Korea, the Asian shore crab has not previously established in Australia, but it has the potential to become a major pest. 

What does it look like? 

  • Three spines on each side of eyes
  • Banding pattern on legs
  • Spots on claws
  • Square-shaped, green-purple to orange-brown shell
  • Shell up to 4cm wide
  • Found under rocks, shells or debris or on pylons or concrete structures
  • Found in exposed rocky coasts, estuaries, tidal flats and shallow waters

What to do if you suspect an Asian shore crab

If you find an Asian shore crab, report the marine pest to [email protected], phone 136 186 or report it via the Snap, Send, Solve app.

Reports should include:

  1. photos of suspected Asian shore crabs with a scale such as a pencil; and
  2. the location, date and time of the sighting, including GPS readings (if possible).

What you can do to stop the spread of marine pests

  • Check your boat and other equipment for Asian shore crabs.
  • Clean your boat and marine equipment regularly in fresh water.
  • Dry boats and marine equipment thoroughly before transporting and using in a different location. 
  • Regularly apply appropriate anti-fouling paint in accordance with manufacturer instructions.
  • Visit the Agriculture Victoria website to learn more about high-risk marine pests

To find out more, visit:


Sand crab (Ovalipes australiensis)

Sand crab (Ovalipes australiensis)
  • Pale brown to blue-grey shell
  • Swimming paddle on last legs
  • Large blood-red to mauve grey ‘eye’ spots near the rear of shell
  • Shell up to 11cm wide

Four-toothed shore crab (Paragrapsus quadridentatus)

Four-toothed shore crab (Paragrapsus quadridentatus)
  • Green-grey or pale brown with black spots
  • One notch on each side of eyes
  • Shell up to 3cm wide.

Mottled shore crab Sand Star (Paragrapsus laevis)

Mottled shore crab Sand Star (Paragrapsus laevis)
  • Yellow-brown with darker red patches
  • Two notches on each side of eyes
  • Shell up to 4cm wide

The above information was provided by Agriculture Victoria.

To find out more, visit:

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