Carcinus maenas is a common littoral crab, and an important invasive species, listed among the 100 “world’s worst alien invasive species”. It is native to the north-east Atlantic Ocean and Baltic Sea, but has colonised similar habitats in Australia, South Africa, South America and both Atlantic and Pacific coasts of North America. It grows to a carapace width of 90 millimetres (3.5 in), and feeds on a variety of molluscs, worms and small crustaceans, potentially impacting a number of fisheries. Its successful dispersion has occurred via a variety of mechanisms, such as on ships’ hulls, packing materials, bivalves moved for aquaculture, and rafting.
C. maenas is known by different names around the world. In the British Isles, it is generally referred to simply as the shore crab. In North America and South Africa, it bears the name green crab or European green crab. In Australia and New Zealand, it is referred to as either the European green crab or European shore crab.
(From Wikipedia.org, September 21 2010)
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The shore crab feeds on invertebrates including worms, molluscs and crustaceans Small molluscs and barnacles are taken by young crabs (2). Breeding peaks in summer, and mating can only take place shortly after the female moults; the male finds a female before she is due to moult, and carries her around underneath his body for a number of days (2). After the moult, copulation occurs. The female creates a cavity by burrowing in the sand; she lays the eggs whilst positioned over this cavity, attaches them to her walking legs and carries them around for several months (2). After hatching, the larvae are planktonic for 2-3 years. They then settle as young crabs, and reach maturity after around a year (2).
(From ARKives via The Encyclopedia of Life, September 21 2010)