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Charybdis (genus)

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Title: Charybdis (genus)  
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Subject: Portunidae, Portunoidea, Crab, Teochew cuisine, List of prehistoric malacostracans
Collection: Portunoidea
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Charybdis (genus)

Charybdis japonica
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Crustacea
Class: Malacostraca
Order: Decapoda
Infraorder: Brachyura
Family: Portunidae
Genus: Charybdis
De Haan, 1833
Type species
Cancer sexdentatus Herbst, 1783

Charybdis is a genus of swimming crabs in the family Portunidae; "Charybdis" is Greek for whirlpool.


  • Species 1
    • Charybdis affinis 1.1
    • Charybdis feriata 1.2
    • Charybdis hellerii 1.3
    • Charybdis japonica 1.4
    • Charybdis longicollis 1.5
    • Charybdis natator 1.6
  • References 2
  • External links 3


The genus Charybdis contains the following species:[1]

Subgenus Charybdis (Charybdis) De Haan, 1833
Subgenus Charybdis (Goniohellenus) Alcock, 1899
Subgenus Charybdis (Gonioneptunus) Ortmann, 1894
Subgenus Charybdis (Goniosupradens) Leene, 1938
Incertae sedis

Charybdis affinis

Charybdis affinis has a hexagonal, concave carapace with a yellowish-grey colour. This crab is found in the Indian Ocean and in the West Pacific.[2]

Charybdis feriata

Charybdis feriata is found in the Indian and Pacific Oceans, from Japan, China and Australia to Southern Africa and the Persian Gulf.[3] It is an edible crab and because of its large size, high quality of meat and relatively soft exoskeleton, it has a high commercial value. Attempts are being made to farm this crab using aquaculture.[4] In Hong Kong Cantonese it is known as the flowery crab (花蟹).[5] This name probably arises from its red and white colouring when cooked. This species of crab is also known as Charybdis feriatus and Charybdis cruciata,[3] and has also been found in the Mediterranean Sea. The specific epithet cruciata refers to the red cross on the carapace of this species. According to legend the Spanish Jesuit Saint Francis Xavier saw this crab in Indonesia. "A Ceram, écrit François-Xavier, un crabe sur la plage me rapporta entre ses pinces mon crucifix qu'une tempête avait arraché à mon cou. Depuis, en cette région, les crabes ont un crucifix imprimé sur leur carapace".[6]

Charybdis hellerii

Charybdis hellerii

Charybdis hellerii is characterised by a hexagonal, concave carapace with a mottled brownish-grey colour. This crab originates from the Indo-West Pacific, from the Red Sea to New Caledonia. However this crab has now also successively invaded the Western Atlantic (Florida to Brazil)[7] and the Mediterranean Sea.[8]

Charybdis japonica

Charybdis japonica has a hexagonal, concave carapace around 12 centimetres (4.7 in) wide, the whole animal being pale green to olive green in colour. It occurs naturally in the waters around Japan, Korea and Malaysia, but has become an invasive species in New Zealand.

Charybdis longicollis

Charybdis longicollis is an invasive species from the Red Sea that invaded the Mediterranean Sea fifty years ago.[9]

Charybdis natator

Charybdis natator is characterised by a brownish upper surface with some white spots among the wafts or bright red granules. On its under surface it is bluish, mottled with white and pale red.[10] This crab is not a major target for commercial fishing.[11][12]


  1. ^ P. Davie & M. Türkay (2009). De Haan, 1833"Charybdis".  
  2. ^ K. H. Chu (1999). "Morphometric analysis and reproductive biology of the crab Charybdis affinis (Decapoda, Brachyura, Portunidae) from the Zhujiang Estuary, China".  
  3. ^ a b P. Abellу & C. Hispano (2006). (Linnaeus, 1758) (Brachyura: Portunidae) in the Mediterranean Sea"Charybdis feriata"The capture of the Indo-Pacific crab (PDF). Aquatic Invasions 1: 13–16.  
  4. ^ F. D. Parado-Estepa, E. T. Quinitio & E. M. Rodriguez (2003). "Charybdis feriatus"Seed Production of the Crucifix Crab (PDF). Aqua KE Government Documents VII (3): 37. 
  5. ^ C.-J. Shen (1997). "The Crabs of Hong Kong Part III" (PDF). The Hong Kong Naturalist 10: 32–45. 
  6. ^ R. de Ceccatty (1985). L'extrémité du monde. Relation de saint François-Xavier sur ses voyages et sur sa vie. Paris. p. 113. 
  7. ^ J. F. Dineen, P. F. Clark, A. H. Hines, S. A. Reed & H. P. Walton (2001). (Decapoda: Brachyura: Portunidae), an invasive crab in the western Atlantic"Charybdis hellerii"Life history, larval description, and natural history of .  
  8. ^ "The Mediterranean Science Commission". 
  9. ^ G. Innocenti, N. Pinter & B. S. Galil (2003). Boschma"Heterosaccus dollfusi Leene infected by the rhizocephalan barnacle Charybdis longicollis"Observations on the agonistic behavior of the swimming crab (PDF). Canadian Journal of Zoology 81: 173–176.  
  10. ^ "Marine Iconography of the Philippines Archipelago". 
  11. ^ "Hong Kong City University". 
  12. ^ "Sydney Fish Market: Crabs". Retrieved 2013-10-09. 

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