Red king crab

Paralithodes camtschaticus


  Photo Credit: ©Lis Lindal Jorgensen
Paralithodes camtschaticus
  • Marine, polar and temperate habitats. Capable of living in both warm water and cold water.

  • It has a fused head and thorax, a fan shaped tail, 5 sets of appendages, the first two are pincers, the right is usually larger than the left, and three pairs of walking legs. The body is generally red/brownish. It grows up to 22cm on carapace (shell) length and over 10kg. 

Origin and Distribution:
  • Originates from the Northern Pacific and Bering Sea. Known to have become invasive in the Russian and Norwegian southern Barents Sea.

  • This species is capable of consuming large amounts of prey items. Adults are opportunistic, omnivorous feeders eating what is most readily available.
  • Adult crabs are active and consequently, where there are low densities of available food, they may swiftly migrate, by walking rapidly on the long legs, to a different and less exploited region where food is more abundant. This enables the adult crabs to exploit considerable areas of sea bottom.

How might it get here?
  • The species was originally intentionally introduced to Russia but the most likely way it will arrive in Ireland is by natural dispersal. It is unclear at present if this species will be able to survive in Irish waters.
  • The island of Ireland lies on a biogeographical boundary and waters may be too warm.

Is it found in Ireland or Northern Ireland?
  • It is not present in Ireland or Northern Ireland.

Prevent Spread:
  • Report all sightings.

You can help by reporting any sightings:
Invasive Species Ireland

Invasive Species Ireland