Chinese mitten crab


variants or less commonly mitten crab
: a catadromous burrowing crab (Eriocheir sinensis of the family Varunidae) native to eastern Asia that has a light brown to olive green carapace and white-tipped claws with distinctive thick patches of setae

called also hairy crab

Note: The Chinese mitten crab has been accidentally introduced into waterways of Europe and North America where it is considered an invasive species. It is valued as a food in Chinese cuisine.

Last year, Chinese mitten crabs—an "exotic" crustacean from Asia—overwhelmed government water pumps in the Sacramento River-San Joaquin River Delta during their autumnal spawning migration to San Francisco Bay. At their peak, 20,000 to 40,000 mitten crabs a day clogged the screens to the federal delta pumps …Glen Martin, San Francisco Chronicle, 18 Oct. 1999
She has seen the Chinese mitten crab, a new invader within the past decade, in the Hudson River. It digs burrows in riverbanks, which can speed erosion.James M. O'Neill, The Record (Bergen County, New Jersey), 14 Apr. 2013

Word History

First Known Use

1934, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of Chinese mitten crab was in 1934

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Cite this Entry

“Chinese mitten crab.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jun. 2024.

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