Chinese mitten crab

noun
variants: or less commonly mitten crab

Definition of Chinese 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

Love words?

You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

First Known Use of Chinese mitten crab

1934, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About Chinese mitten crab

Time Traveler for Chinese mitten crab

Time Traveler

The first known use of Chinese mitten crab was in 1934

See more words from the same year

Statistics for Chinese mitten crab

Cite this Entry

“Chinese mitten crab.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Chinese%20mitten%20crab. Accessed 23 Jul. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Typeshift

Anagram puzzles meet word search.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!