Marbled swimming crab (Liocarcinus marmoreus)

Distribution data supplied by the Ocean Biodiversity Information System (OBIS). To interrogate UK data visit the NBN Atlas.Map Help



A distinctive crab with a variable colour pattern of reddish-yellow and light brown. The body is smooth and grows up to 35 mm long with three small, similar sized teeth between the eyes. It is host to the parasitic barnacle Sacculina carcini in some areas.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Recorded from various locations around Britain and Ireland.

Global distribution



Found on fine sands and gravel on the lower shore and sublittoral.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • Front with three similar teeth, the middle often the shortest.
  • Cheliped carpus has no tooth on outer edge.
  • Frontal margin with three similar-sized lobes.

Additional information

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Listed by

- none -


  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., 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.]

  4. JNCC (Joint Nature Conservation Committee), 1999. Marine Environment Resource Mapping And Information Database (MERMAID): Marine Nature Conservation Review Survey Database. [on-line]


  1. NBN (National Biodiversity Network) Atlas. Available from:

  2. OBIS (Ocean Biodiversity Information System),  2024. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. Accessed: 2024-07-14


This review can be cited as:

Wilson, E. 2008. Liocarcinus marmoreus Marbled swimming crab. In Tyler-Walters H. and Hiscock K. Marine Life Information Network: Biology and Sensitivity Key Information Reviews, [on-line]. Plymouth: Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom. [cited 14-07-2024]. Available from:

Last Updated: 17/04/2008