Velvet swimming crab (Necora puber)

NBN Interactive08-05-2008

Map accurate at time of writing. Visit NBN or OBIS to view current distribution

Researched byEmily Wilson Refereed byAdmin
Authority(Linnaeus, 1767)
Other common names- SynonymsLiocarcinus puber (Linnaeus, 1767), Portunus puber (Linnaeus, 1767)



A fast moving swimming crab, blue in colour but obscured by a brown pubescence with red prominences. The dorsal surface has a finely velvety texture and the eyes are red. It grows to about 8 cm.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

All British and Irish coasts.

Global distribution



Found on stony and rock substrata intertidally and in shallow water, most abundant on moderately sheltered shores.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • Carapace dorsal surface flattened and pubescent.
  • Frontal margin with up to 10 narrow unequal teeth, middle two often larger.
  • Antero-lateral margin with five sharp, forward-pointing teeth.
  • Chelipeds equal, strong, pubescent.

Additional information

Also known as the devil crab and velvet swimming crab.

Listed by

- none -

Further information sources

Search on:



  1. Hayward, P., Nelson-Smith, T. & Shields, C. 1996. Collins pocket guide. Sea shore of Britain and northern Europe. London: HarperCollins.

  2. Hayward, P.J. & Ryland, J.S. (ed.) 1995b. Handbook of the marine fauna of North-West Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  3. Howson, C.M. & Picton, B.E. (ed.), 1997. The species directory of the marine fauna and flora of the British Isles and surrounding seas. Belfast: Ulster Museum. [Ulster Museum publication, no. 276.]


This review can be cited as:

Wilson, E. 2008. Necora puber Velvet swimming crab. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. (eds) Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. Available from:

Last Updated: 08/05/2008