Asian paddle crab


Have you seen Asian paddle crab?

Be on the lookout for Asian paddle crab and report it to Biosecurity Queensland. Early detection and reporting are the key elements in controlling Asian paddle crab.

Call us on 13 25 23.

Asian paddle crab is an invasive and prohibited marine pest. They are aggressive non-native crabs that could out compete native crabs. They can carry diseases, such as White spot syndrome virus that can impact prawns, crabs and lobsters. The paddle crab is not currently established in Queensland but has significant potential to do so.

Asian paddle crab can be introduced via ship's ballast water, as biofouling on boat hulls and through internal seawater systems.

Asian paddle crabs vary in colour from red/purple/orange to pale green and off-white, have 6 spines either side of eyes, a shell width up to 12cm and swimming paddles on last set of legs.

It is illegal to import, or in any way deal with Asian paddle crab. You must report any suspected sightings to Biosecurity Queensland.

Scientific name

Charybdis japonica


  • Can grow up to 120mm wide
  • Found in a number of colours – pale, olive green, brown, grey-purple
  • Sharp spines between its eyes
  • Six spines down each side of the shell
  • Five spines on their front claws
  • Swimming paddles on last set of legs


  • Low tide to 15m depth
  • Sand and mud
  • Estuaries, harbours and coastal habitats
  • Juveniles more commonly found in rocky intertidal habitats


  • Not yet established in Queensland.



  • Out-competes native species.
  • Can impact commercial crab fisheries
  • Can cause poisoning if eaten by humans


  • Slipway operators, vessel inspectors and vessel owners should thoroughly check, clean and, where possible, dry vessel hulls and niche areas such as internal seawater systems.
  • Early detection is essential for preventing pest establishment. If you have seen Asian paddle crab, immediately contact Biosecurity Queensland on 13 25 23.

Legal requirements

  • Asian paddle crab is a prohibited marine animal under the Biosecurity Act 2014.
  • All sightings of Asian paddle crab must be reported to Biosecurity Queensland within 24 hours – phone 13 25 23.
  • By law, everyone has a general biosecurity obligation (GBO) to take all reasonable and practical steps to minimise the risk of Asian paddle crabs spreading until they receive advice from an authorised officer.

Further information