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Mud crab (mangrove crab)

This is a regulated species. See the size, take and possession limits for tidal waters.

  • Drawing of a mud crab (Scylla serrata)
    Drawing of a mud crab (Scylla serrata)
Scientific name

Scylla serrata

Description
  • large crabs with a smooth, broad carapace
  • can grow to more than 25 cm shell breadth (2 kg), with males generally growing larger than females
  • have nine similar sized spines each side of their eyes
  • hind legs are flattened for swimming
  • have very robust claws, used for crushing shells
  • vary from dark olive-brown to greenish-blue and blue-black
  • patterns of lighter coloured dots cover the walking legs.
Distribution
  • can be found along the entire Queensland coast in sheltered estuaries, tidal flats and rivers lined with mangroves
  • inhabit tropical to warm temperate waters from Exmouth Gulf in Western Australia to the Bega River in New South Wales.
Habitat
  • a marine and estuarine animal
  • usually found in shallow water but berried females occur well offshore
  • favour a soft muddy bottom, often below tide level.
Diet
  • omnivorous scavengers and are also cannibalistic, eating other crabs as well as barnacles, bivalves and dead fish.
Size and possession limits
  • minimum size - 15cm
  • possession limit - 10
  • female mud crabs are protected throughout Queensland and are therefore prohibited from being in anyone's possession without a permit.

Last updated 31 October 2012