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Spanner crab (frog crab)

A closed season applies to spanner crabs throughout Queensland. See crabs and lobsters for details.

  • Drawing of a Spanner crab (Ranina ranina)
    Drawing of a Spanner crab (Ranina ranina)
Scientific name

Ranina ranina

  • easily recognisable by their frog-like appearance and bright red colour
  • usually have a pattern of white dots across the middle of their carapace
  • unlike other crabs their movement is forwards and backwards
  • derive their name from the spanner-shaped claws
  • males grow to about 15 cm shell breadth, while females only grow to about 11.5 cm shell breadth.

Live on the east and west coasts, from Yeppoon in Queensland to Nowra in New South Wales and from Quinn Rocks north of Perth to the Houtman Abrolhos and Geraldton in Western Australia.

  • a marine animal which inhabits intertidal waters to depths of more than a hundred metres, from sheltered bays to surf areas
  • prefers bare sandy areas
  • usually found buried in sand, from where they launch attacks on passing prey items such as small, bottom-dwelling fishes.
  • opportunistic feeders, preying on many different bottom-dwelling species
  • often found around prawn trawling vessels, suggesting that discards might be a significant part of their diet.
Size and possession limits
  • size limit: 10cm minimum (centre spine to mid carapace base)
  • possession limit: 20

Further information