The shore crab has a shell (carapace) that is much broader than long (up to 8 cm across). The front of the carapace is serrated with five teeth on either side and three rounded lobes between the eyes. The first pair of legs (pereopods) have well developed pincers (chelae). Its colour is highly variable from dark green to orange and red. Variation in colour may be due to the stage of the life cycle or the habitat. Juveniles in particular display a wide range of mottled patterns.