PORT PHILLIP BAY


Sand Crab 

Ovalipes australiensis Stephenson & Rees, 1968

View scientific description and taxonomy

Scientific Details

Front divided into 2 short teeth, not longer than triangular inner supraorbital teeth; upper orbital border toothed, inner supraorbital notch deep; 5 anterolateral teeth bordered by coarse granules. Basal antennal article without flattened dorsal area, largely obscured dorsally by hirsute frontal border, upper surface with long dense hairs. Chela palm, upper surface with 3 distinct carinae, innermost ending in a spine, between carinae coarsely granular; chela palm, lower surface with stridulating ridge. Red carapace with distinctive pair of large red spots posteriorly.

Source: Poore, G.C.B. (2004) Marine decapod Crustacea of southern Australia. A guide to identification (with chapter on Stomatopoda by Shane Ahyong). CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne, 574 pp.

Taxonomy

Phylum:
Arthropoda
Subphylum:
Crustacea
Class:
Malacostraca
Subclass:
Eumalacostraca
Superorder:
Eucarida
Order:
Decapoda
Suborder:
Pleocyemata
Infraorder:
Brachyura
Family:
Portunidae
Subfamily:
Polybiinae
Genus:
Ovalipes
Species:
australiensis

General Description

Carapace pale brown to blue-grey, about as wide as long. Rear leg ends with flat rounded paddle. A pair of large blood-red to mauve grey 'eye' spots toward the rear of the carapace. Up to 11 cm wide (carapace).

Biology

Sand Crabs are particularly agile being able to bury rapidly into the sand by digging backwards when disturbed, leaving only their stalked eyes poking up into the water above. Fisherman find Ovalipes a nuisance by biting their bare feet in shallow waters, and expertly removing bait from their fishing hooks. They are usually active at night.

Habitat

Sand areas and beaches, to depth of 100 m.

Soft substrates

Distribution guide

Southern Australia.

Species Group

Crabs and allies Crabs

Depth

Shallow (1-30 m)
Deep ( > 30 m)

Water Column

On or near sea floor

Max Size

11 cm

Diet

Carnivore

Harmful

Not harmful but a nip from large claws could be painful.

Commercial Species

Yes

Global Dispersal

Native to Australia

Species Code

MoV 1657

Conservation Status

  • DSE Advisory List : Not listed
  • EPBC Act 1999 : Not listed
  • IUCN Red List : Not listed

Author

article author Taylor, J.

Dr. Jo Taylor is the Sciences Collections Online Coordinator at Museum Victoria.

Author

article author Poore, G.C.B.

Dr. Gary Poore is Principal Curator Emeritus at Museum Victoria.

citation

Cite this page as:
Taylor, J. & Poore, G.C.B., 2011, Sand Crab, Ovalipes australiensis, in Taxonomic Toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay, Museum Victoria, accessed 23 Aug 2017, http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au:8098/species/4017

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