information on the biology of species and the ecology of habitats found around the coasts and seas of the British Isles

Velvet swimming crab (Necora puber)

Distribution data supplied by the Ocean Biogeographic Information System (OBIS). To interrogate UK data visit the NBN Atlas.
Only coastal and marine records shown



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., 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. [cited 17-08-2018]. Available from:

Last Updated: 08/05/2008