Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

The velvet swimming crab is a fast-moving and very aggressive species (5) and can deliver a painful nip (4). Females carrying eggs can be found at all times of the year in Britain. The adults feed on brown seaweeds, molluscs and crustaceans, whereas juveniles feed mainly on crustaceans such as small crabs and barnacles (2). In some parts of Europe, this species is fished commercially (4).
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Description

The fast-moving velvet swimming crab has a flattened carapace, which is wider than it is long (2). The upper surface is blue but has a reddish-brown velvety covering, which disguises the blue colouration and earns the species its common name (3). The pincers are equal in size and are also velvety and the eyes are bright red (3). The colour of these eyes and the general aggressive nature of this species may explain the alternative names of Devil crab and witch crab. Between the eyes there are around ten narrow teeth on the edge of the carapace (4).
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Comprehensive Description

Description

 A fast moving swimming crab, blue in colour but obscured by a brown pubescence with red prominences. The dorsal surface has a finely velvety texture and the eyes are red. It grows to about 8 cm.Also known as the devil crab and velvet swimming crab.
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Distribution

Range

This crab has a wide distribution in north-west Europe (2). It is common around all coasts of Britain (4).
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Ecology

Habitat

Depth range based on 382 specimens in 1 taxon.
Water temperature and chemistry ranges based on 47 samples.

Environmental ranges
  Depth range (m): 0 - 65
  Temperature range (°C): 9.238 - 12.348
  Nitrate (umol/L): 2.853 - 8.324
  Salinity (PPS): 34.219 - 35.363
  Oxygen (ml/l): 6.013 - 6.665
  Phosphate (umol/l): 0.333 - 0.626
  Silicate (umol/l): 2.366 - 4.454

Graphical representation

Depth range (m): 0 - 65

Temperature range (°C): 9.238 - 12.348

Nitrate (umol/L): 2.853 - 8.324

Salinity (PPS): 34.219 - 35.363

Oxygen (ml/l): 6.013 - 6.665

Phosphate (umol/l): 0.333 - 0.626

Silicate (umol/l): 2.366 - 4.454
 
Note: this information has not been validated. Check this *note*. Your feedback is most welcome.

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 Found on stony and rock substrata intertidally and in shallow water, most abundant on moderately sheltered shores.
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Small individuals are found on rocky shores at low water but larger specimens occur down to depths of 80 m (2). It is most numerous on fairly sheltered shores (3).
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Associations

Known predators

Portunus puber is prey of:
Aves

Based on studies in:
Ireland (River)

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
  • J. A. Kitching and F. J. Ebling, Ecological studies at Lough Ine, Adv. Ecol. Res. 4:197-291, from p. 288 (1967).
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Known prey organisms

Portunus puber preys on:
Paracentrotus
Gibbula eineraria

Based on studies in:
Ireland (River)

This list may not be complete but is based on published studies.
  • J. A. Kitching and F. J. Ebling, Ecological studies at Lough Ine, Adv. Ecol. Res. 4:197-291, from p. 288 (1967).
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Evolution and Systematics

Evolution

Classification

Necoras is considered as a subspecies, included in Polybius (Genus) by d'Udekem d'Acoz
  • d'Udekem d'Acoz, C. (1999). Inventaire et distribution des crustacés décapodes de l'Atlantique nord-oriental, de la Méditerranée et des eaux continentales adjacentes au nord de 25°N [Inventory and distribution of the decapod crustaceans from the northeastern Atlantic, the Mediterranean and the adjacent continental waters north of 25°N]. Collection Patrimoines Naturels, 40. Muséum national d'Histoire Naturelle: Paris, France. ISBN 2-86515-114-10. X, 383 pp.
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Molecular Biology and Genetics

Molecular Biology

Statistics of barcoding coverage: Necora puber

Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLDS) Stats
Public Records: 54
Specimens with Barcodes: 57
Species With Barcodes: 1
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Barcode data: Necora puber

The following is a representative barcode sequence, the centroid of all available sequences for this species.


There are 32 barcode sequences available from BOLD and GenBank.  Below is a sequence of the barcode region Cytochrome oxidase subunit 1 (COI or COX1) from a member of the species.  See the BOLD taxonomy browser for more complete information about this specimen and other sequences.

ACATTATATTTTATCTTTGGAGCTTGAGCAGGAATAGTAGGTACTTCCCTA---AGTTTAATTATTCGTGCTGAATTAGGCCAACCAGGAACATTGATTGGAAAT---GATCAAATTTATAACGTAGTTGTTACCGCCCATGCTTTTGTAATAATCTTCTTCATGGTTATACCAATTATAATTGGTGGATTTGGTAATTGACTAGTACCCTTGATA---CTAGGTGCTCCAGATATGGCTTTTCCCCGTATAAATAATATAAGATTTTGACTTCTTCCTCCCTCGCTCACTCTATTACTAATAAGTGGGTTAGTTGAAAGAGGTGTTGGTACTGGTTGAACTGTTTACCCTCCCTTATCTGCGGCTATTGCCCACGCGGGTGCTTCAGTTGATTTAGGT---ATTTTTTCGCTTCACTTAGCAGGAGTTTCTTCTATTTTAGGTGCTGTAAACTTCATAACTACAGTTATTAATATACGTTCATTTGGTATAATAATGGATCAAATACCTTTATTCGTGTGAGCTGTTTTTATTACCGCTATCCTATTGCTACTATCTCTACCAGTTTTAGCAGGT---GCTATTACTATACTTCTTACTGATCGAAATTTGAATACTTCATTCTTTGACCCAGCTGGGGGAGGTGATCCTGTTTTATATCAACATCTA------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------TTT
-- end --

Download FASTA File
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Conservation

Conservation Status

Status

Not threatened (3).
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Threats

This species is not threatened.
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Management

Conservation

Conservation action is not required for this species at present.
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Wikipedia

Velvet crab

The velvet crab (alternatively velvet swimming crab, devil crab or lady crab), Necora puber, is a species of crab. It is the largest swimming crab (family Portunidae) found in British coastal waters, with a carapace width of up to 100 millimetres (3.9 in), and the only species in the genus Necora.[1] The body is coated with short hairs, giving the animal a velvety texture, hence the common name. It is one of the major crab species for United Kingdom fisheries.

The velvet crab lives from southern Norway to Western Sahara in the North Sea and north Atlantic as well as western parts of the Mediterranean Sea, on rocky bottoms from the shoreline to a depth of about 65 metres (213 ft). The last pair of pereiopods are flattened to facilitate swimming.

References[edit]

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