Preferred Scientific Name
- Charybdis japonica A. Milne-Edwards, 1861
Preferred Common Name
- lady crab
Local Common Names
- Japan: ishigani; rock crab
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C. japonica is a large portunid crab native to coastal marine environments of the western Pacific. Introduced to New Zealand, it was first discovered in Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour in 2000 (Webber, 2001). By April 2002 the invader had spread widely throughout the harbour (Gust and Inglis, 2006). It appears to have become established there and was still found to be widespread in the harbour in April 2008 (Willis and Morrisey, 2008). C. japonica may impact native estuarine faunal assemblages as an opportunistic predator of benthic invertebrates, particularly small, native shellfish. In its native range it is a host or carrier of the white spot syndrome virus, a serious fisheries threat to a broad spectrum of crustaceans (Lightner, 1996; Maeda et al., 1998). Listed as one of ten most likely invaders into Australian marine waters C. japonica is categorized as a 'medium high priority' species based on its invasion potential/impact (Hayes et al., 2005).
C. japonica is a large (up to 110 mm carapace width) portunid (swimming) crab, with a typical portunid body-form. The carapace and limbs are pilose (hairy), though the extent of cover varies considerably within populations. In some New Zealand individuals it is confined to recesses in the carapace, between anterolateral spines on the carapace, and in recesses on the chelae. Maximum size (carapace width) in Korean population is 109 mm (males) and 96 mm (females). Corresponding values for New Zealand population are 110 mm and 90 mm (Miller et al., 2006). Detailed descriptions of external morphology are given by Wee and Ng (1995) and Smith et al., (2003). The colour of the New Zealand population is very variable, ranging from pale green and off-white, thorough olive green to deep chestnut with purplish markings on the carapace and upper surfaces of the appendages (Smith et al., 2003). Most specimens from New Zealand also have yellow-orange markings, particularly on the chelae. There seem to be few published descriptions of colour in individuals from its native range, but Wee and Ng (1995) describe the colour of crabs from Japan as “dorsal surface mottled cream and purple”.
The distribution in this summary table is based on all the information available. When several references are cited, they may give conflicting information on the status. Further details may be available for individual references in the Distribution Table Details section which can be selected by going to Generate Report.Last updated: 10 Jan 2020
|Continent/Country/Region||Distribution||Last Reported||Origin||First Reported||Invasive||Reference||Notes|
|China||Present, Widespread||Native||Wide native distribution in eastern Asia. Native range from northern China to malaysia, and includes coastal areas of Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Malaysia and China.|
|Japan||Present||Present based on regional distribution.|
|South Korea||Present, Widespread||Native|
|United States||Present||Present based on regional distribution.|
|-South Australia||Absent, Formerly present||2000||In December 2000, a single mature male specimen of Charybdis japonica was found in the port river of Adelaide, South Australia. Despite further intensive searches, no additional specimens were collected from this location.|
|New Zealand||Present, Localized||2008||Introduced||2000||Invasive||Widespread in Auckland’s Waitemata Harbour. Occasional specimens detected in other northeastern New Zealand estuaries.|
|Introduced to||Introduced from||Year||Reason||Introduced by||Established in wild through||References||Notes|
|Natural reproduction||Continuous restocking|
|New Zealand||2000||Hitchhiker (pathway cause)||Yes||Gust and Inglis (2006); Webber (2001); Willis and Morrisey (2008)||To Waitematata Harbour (Auckland) probably from east Asia, either via ballast water or ships’ hulls, consistently present since 2000|
|South Australia||2000||Hitchhiker (pathway cause)||Poore (2004)||To Port Rover, Adelaide probably from East Asia via ballast water or ships' hulls. A single mature male. Not found in subsequent searches|
|Marine||Inshore marine||Principal habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Marine||Inshore marine||Principal habitat||Natural|
|Marine||Benthic zone||Principal habitat||Harmful (pest or invasive)|
|Marine||Benthic zone||Principal habitat||Natural|
See Smith et al. (2003) for a study on the DNA and morphological identification of C. japonica in New Zealand waters.
|Parameter||Minimum Value||Maximum Value||Typical Value||Status||Life Stage||Notes|
|Depth (m b.s.l.)||1||15||Harmful||Values shown for shallow subtidal in New Zealand, also intertidal in Japan and other parts of native range|
|Water temperature (ºC temperature)||-1||34||Optimum||Minimum temperature -1 for location in northern China (Qiyuan and Dongdong, 2004)|
|Natural enemy||Type||Life stages||Specificity||References||Biological control in||Biological control on|
|Economic/livelihood||Positive and negative|
Possible adverse effects on populations of commercially important, estuarine bivalves in introduced range (Gust and Inglis, 2006). Potential distribution of C. japonica in New Zealand may not overlap substantially with that of the only commercially important native portunid crab (Ovalipes catharus), reducing the likelihood of direct competition between them (Gust and Inglis, 2006). C. japonica is also a known host of the white-spot syndrome virus, a serious fisheries threat to a broad range of crustaceans (Lightner, 1996; Maeda et al., 1998), though the New Zealand population has not so far been found to carry it.
See comments in section on Economic Impact for potential effects of predation on native bivalve populations on disease on native crustaceans.
Dineen JF; Clark PF; Anson HH; Reed SH; Walton HP, 2001. Life history, larval description, and natural history of Charybdis helleri (Decapoda, Brachyura, Portunidae), an invasive crab in the western Atlantic. Journal of Crustacean Biology, 21:774-805.
Gust N; Inglis GJ, 2006. Adaptive multi-scale sampling to determine an invasive crab's habitat usage and range in New Zealand. Biological Invasions, 8(2):339-353. http://www.springerlink.com/content/f33x275051185318/?p=1e71bc6b8e8e4352a88b95f0c64be648&pi=19
Hayes K; Sliwa C; Migus S; McEnnulty F; Dunstan P, 2005. National priority pests: Part II Ranking of Australian marine pests. An independent report undertaken for the Department of Environment and Heritage by CSIRO Marine Research. http://www.marine.csiro.au/crimp/reports/PriorityPestsFinalreport.pdf
Maeda M; Itami T; Furumoto A; Hennig O; Imamura T; Kondo M; Hirono I; Aoki T; Takahashi Y, 1998. Detection of penaeid rod-shaped DNA virus (PRDV) in wild-caught shrimp and other crustaceans. In: Gyobyo Kenkyu = Fish Pathology, 373-380.
Miller A; Inglis GJ; Poulin R, 2006. Comparison of the ectosymbionts and parasites of an introduced crab, Charybdis japonica, with sympatric and allopatric populations of a native New Zealand crab, Ovalipes catharus (Brachyura: Portunidae). New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research, 40:369-378.
Qiyuan GE; Dongdong XIA, 2004. Proceedings of the APEC/MRC/OMISAR Fourteenth Workshop on Ocean Models, 26-29 October 2004, Tainan, Chinese Taipei. http://ivy3.epa.gov.tw/OMISAR/Data/WOM14/proceedings/11.pdf
Smith PJ; Webber WR; McVeagh SM; Inglis GJ; Gust N, 2003. DNA and morphological identification of an invasive swimming crab Charybdis japonica (A. Milne-Edwards 1861) in New Zealand waters. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research, 37:753-762.
Wee DPC; Ng PKL, 1995. Swimming crabs of the genera Charybdis de Haan, 1833, and Thalamita Latreille, 1829 (Crustacea: Decapoda: Brachyura: Portunidae) from Peninsula Malaysia and Singapore. The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology, Supplement 1:127.
Willis K; Morrisey D, 2008. Annual report for the Port of Auckland 2007/2008 (Project 10623). Christchurch, New Zealand: NIWA Ltd, 18. [Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry Biosecurity New Zealand Technical Report, June 2008.]
CABI, Undated. CABI Compendium: Status inferred from regional distribution. Wallingford, UK: CABI
CABI, Undated a. CABI Compendium: Status as determined by CABI editor. Wallingford, UK: CABI
Gust N, Inglis G J, 2006. Adaptive multi-scale sampling to determine an invasive crab's habitat usage and range in New Zealand. Biological Invasions. 8 (2), 339-353. http://www.springerlink.com/content/f33x275051185318/?p=1e71bc6b8e8e4352a88b95f0c64be648&pi=19 DOI:10.1007/s10530-004-8243-y
Qiyuan G E, Xia D D, 2004. Demonstration engineering of artificial fish reef in the waters of Changxing Island in the Bohai Bay. In: Proceedings of the APEC/MRC/OMISAR Fourteenth Workshop on Ocean Models, 26-29 October 2004, Tainan, Chinese Taipei [Proceedings of the APEC/MRC/OMISAR Fourteenth Workshop on Ocean Models, 26-29 October 2004, Tainan, Chinese Taipei.], http://ivy3.epa.gov.tw/OMISAR/Data/WOM14/proceedings/11.pdf
Smith P J, Webber W R, McVeagh S M, Inglis G J, Gust N, 2003. DNA and morphological identification of an invasive swimming crab Charybdis japonica (A. Milne-Edwards 1861) in New Zealand waters. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research. 753-762.
28/07/08 Original text by:
N Gust, Department of Primary Industries and Water, Biodiversity and Conservation Branch, Wildlife & Marine Conservtion Section, PO Box 44, Hobart, 7001, Tasmania, New Zealand
Don Morrisey, National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research Ltd, PO Box 893, Nelson, New Zealand
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