PORT PHILLIP BAY


New Zealand Paddle Crab 

Ovalipes catharus (White, 1843)

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 with small flattened dorsal area, clearly visibly dorsally, upper surface sparsely hirsute. Chela palm, upper surface with 3 distinct carinae, innermost ending in a spine, between carinae very finely granular; chela palm, lower surface with stridulating ridge.

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:
catharus

General Description

Carapace and legs smooth. Front with 2 teeth close together, separate, not longer than supraorbital teeth, without submedians; upper orbital border with tooth inside first anterolateral; anterolateral teeth bordered by coarse granules. Basal antennal article with flattened dorsal area, upper surface sparsely hirsute. Pale greyish brown with numerous brown speckles. Carapace up to 15 cm wide.

Biology

This species of swimming crab is more common on the coasts of New Zealand but is also reported from south-eastern Australia. Spending much of their time burrowed into sandy or muddy sediments paddle crabs are efficient swimmers, using the flattened last pair of legs as paddles. These swimming legs and the pointed toothed and spined claws enable them to be highly active and aggressive predators.

Habitat

Intertidal to 50 metres depth.

Soft substrates

Coastal shores

Distribution guide

West Pacific Ocean (New Zealand and Chatham Islands), including south-eastern Australia.

Species Group

Crabs and allies Crabs

Depth

Shore (0-1 m)
Shallow (1-30 m)
Deep ( > 30 m)

Water Column

On or near sea floor

Max Size

15 cm

Diet

Organic matter

Harmful

Not harmful but a nip from large claws could be painful

Commercial Species

Yes

Global Dispersal

Recorded in Australia

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, New Zealand Paddle Crab, Ovalipes catharus, in Taxonomic Toolkit for marine life of Port Phillip Bay, Museum Victoria, accessed 25 Mar 2017, http://portphillipmarinelife.net.au:8098/species/5500

Text: creative commons cc by licence