Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Masked Crab

Corystes cassivelaunus
The Masked Crab gets its name from patterns that sometimes appear on its elongated carapace-- they can look like faces!

Aside from those designs, the Masked Crabs are yellowish to reddish brown in color, have very long antennae, and long pincers that can be twice the length of the body... well, for males at least. A females pincers are only about the same length as the carapace. Overall they are small crabs, only growing carapaces of a few cm.

This species is the only one listed within the genus Corystes and it is found in the Mediterranean and the North Atlantic. They are burrowers-- the dig backwards into the sand in order to hunt after the invertebrates that live in the substrate. While underground, the Masked Crabs stick their antennae into the water above, fusing them together to form a breathing tube.

IUCN Status : Not Listed
Location : North Atlantic
Size : Carapace length up to 1.6in (4cm)
Classification : Phylum : Arthropoda -- Subphylum : Crustacea -- Class : Malacostraca
Order : Decapoda -- Family : Corystidae -- Genus : Corystes -- Species : C. cassivelaunus


  1. Why do they all come out of the sand at low tide? There were loads of them today. Amroth Beach Pembs 7.5.2013

  2. I live in New Orleans, Louisiana. We received some frozen shrimp for our restaurant, in the shrimp we came across a couple of crabs that appear to be similar in size and shape.Their are a few difference : the claws, the hind legs,& no long antenna. I took pictures of these crabs and would love help in identifying them. If you could, if not could you point me in he right direction.
    email: mcdowell.rory@yahoo.com
    Thank You,


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