Iridescent swimming crab

Portunus gibbesii

Family Portunidae - Swimming crabs

Carapace broader than long, compressed; color olive green to brown dorsally, yellowish to white underneath, white spot on each side of lower half of carapace, iridescent patches at base of lateral spines; legs purple or brown with purple tint; claws are long and slender, palms white; fingers in males blue, in females white with brown spot on movable finger; last pair of legs flattened into paddle-shaped appendages; 9 pair of spines (including the outer orbital spines) along the lateral edges of the carapace, the most posterior pair (called the lateral spines) being about 3-4 times as long as the others; 8 low blunt teeth between the ocular orbits (eye sockets), including the inner orbital teeth; 4-7 spines on the inner margins of merus (2nd segment from claws) and a small spine on inner and outer dorsal carpus (segment next to claw).
Similar Species
The long slender claws, the purplish color and the color patterns on the fingers (blue in male, white with brown spot on movable finger in females) distinguish this crab from others.
Gulf and bay
Maximum Size
7.5 cm (3 in) carapace width
Other Common Names
Previous Scientific Names