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Flying crab


carapace around 4 centimeters wide


gray-white, light brown, gray-green or gray-blue with orange on the claws and/or legs


6 to 10 years


small fish, worms, shrimp and shellfish


gulls, other bird species, some fish



  • Dut: Gewone zwemkrab
  • Lat: Liocarcinus holsatus
  • Eng: Flying Crab
  • Ger: Gemeine Schwimmkrabbe
  • Dan: Svømmekrabbe
Flying crab, Ecomare

Flying Crab

The flying crab has striking flattened legs making it a good swimmer. Its build is light and it moves readily through the water, practically flying. It also uses these paddles to burrow itself into the sandy bottom. Flying crabs catch food while swimming. They pinch rapidly and painfully. This crab doesn't always actively hunt its prey. A lazy crab just waits till its prey swims past. Flying crabs are often infected with a nasty parasite, the Sacculina carcini.

  • Distribution and habitat
    Flying crab, foto fitis, sytske dijksen

    Flying crabs are common in the North Sea. They are sensitive to rapid changes in water temperature or oxygen content. Shallow water can change in temperature in a short period of time since the weather conditions have much more influence. Therefore, flying crabs are less common in the Wadden Sea than the shore crab.