Angular crab (Goneplax rhomboides)

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



Goneplax rhomboides has a distinctive rectangular carapace (up to 4 cm across) with a conspicuous spine at each anterior corner, and a short, straight-edged lobe between long, thick eyestalks. The chelipeds are long and slender and those of the male crab can reach up to 5 times the length of the carapace. The dorsal surface of the carapace varies from yellow to red and may be fringed with violet. The chelipeds and walking legs range from yellow to orange in colour.

Recorded distribution in Britain and Ireland

Found on all British coasts.

Global distribution

Ranges south from the British Isles into the Mediterranean and to west Africa.


The angular crab builds complex, branching burrows in mud and sandy mud and can be found from the shallow sublittoral to about 100 m.

Depth range


Identifying features

  • Carapace strongly convex longitudinally.
  • Pincers are narrow and coarsely toothed.
  • Margins of the propodus and dactylus are covered with bristles.
  • The dactylus is usually dark-coloured along its inside edge.

Additional information

No text entered

Listed by

- none -


  1. Campbell, A.C., 1982. The Hamlyn guide to the flora and fauna of the Mediterranean Sea. London: Hamlyn.

  2. Crothers, J. & Crothers, M., 1988. A key to the crabs and crab-like animals of British inshore waters. Somerset, England: Field Studies Council. [AIDGAP guide, no. 155.]

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

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

  5. Hiscock, K., Southward, A., Tittley, I., Jory, A. & Hawkins, S., 2001. The impact of climate change on subtidal and intertidal benthic species in Scotland. Scottish National Heritage Research, Survey and Monitoring Report , no. 182., Edinburgh: Scottish National Heritage

  6. 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.]

  7. Ingle, R.W., 1980. British Crabs. Oxford: British Museum (Natural History), Oxford University Press.

  8. Naylor, P., 2000. Marine Animals of the South West. Plymouth: Sound Diving Publications


  1. Centre for Environmental Data and Recording, 2018. Ulster Museum Marine Surveys of Northern Ireland Coastal Waters. Occurrence dataset accessed via on 2018-09-25.

  2. Isle of Wight Local Records Centre, 2017. IOW Natural History & Archaeological Society Marine Invertebrate Records 1853- 2011. Occurrence dataset: accessed via on 2018-09-27.

  3. Kent Wildlife Trust, 2018. Kent Wildlife Trust Shoresearch Intertidal Survey 2004 onwards. Occurrence dataset: accessed via on 2018-10-01.

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

  5. OBIS (Ocean Biodiversity Information System),  2024. Global map of species distribution using gridded data. Available from: Ocean Biogeographic Information System. Accessed: 2024-05-21


This review can be cited as:

Skewes, M. 2008. Goneplax rhomboides Angular 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 21-05-2024]. Available from:

Last Updated: 08/05/2008