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Scylla serrata   (Forsskål, 1775)

giant mud crab
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Classification Common names | Synonyms | CoL | ITIS | WoRMS

Malacostraca | Decapoda | Portunidae

Main reference References | Biblio | Coordinator | Collaborators

Ng, P.K.L. 1998. (Ref. 343)

Size / Weight / Age

Max length : 28.0 cm CW male/unsexed; (Ref. 343); max. published weight: 3.0 kg (Ref. 343)


Benthic; brackish; depth range 0 - 50 m (Ref. 343)

Climate / Range

Tropical; 26°C - 30°C (Ref. 111153), preferred 25°C (Ref. 107945); 34°N - 37°S, 22°E - 134°W

Distribution Countries | FAO areas | Ecosystems | Occurrences | Introductions

Indo-West Pacific. Introduced in Hawaii and USA.

Short description

Carapace smooth, with strong transverse ridges; H-shaped gastric groove deep; relatively broad frontal lobes, all more or less in line with each other; broad anterolateral teeth, projecting obliquely outwards. Well-developed present on outer surface of chelipedal carpus and anterior and posterior dorsal parts of the palm. Color: carapace green to almost black; legs may be marbled.

Biology     Glossary (e.g. epibenthic)

Maximum carapace width: between 25 and 28 cm. Maximum weight between 2 and 3 kg. Also collected by baited wire mesh pots. Sold in Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore, where the large crabs (so called "meat crabs") and females with ripe ovaries ("roe crabs") command a price from US$5 to US$10 per kg. Largest exporters of this species are Indonesia, Sri Lanka, India, and Bangladesh. There have been attempts to culture the crabs in captivity, but none of the closed-cycle enterprise have gone commercial. Tide is relied upon by farms to bring megalopae or late zoeae into grow-out ponds. Prefers oceanic waters, usually found just offshore on soft muddy bottoms. Can be caught up to 50 m offshore as it migrates offshore to spawn. Digs deep burrows in mangroves and soft substrates in shallow or intertidal waters (Ref. 343). Found in brackish to sea water (Ref. 77016). Forages at night. Major predator of small invertebrates colonizing mangrove swamps (Ref. 8752). Feeds on shrimps, crabs, fishes, and bivalves (Refs. 99886, 102679). Gonochoric; sexually dimorphic based on secondary characteristics. The male traps the female under its chest, holding the latter with its chelipers, forming a pair. When the female is about to molt, the male releases but remains nearby. After moulting, the female is again trapped by the male and the latter opens its genitals towards the female's abdomen. Coupling may last from seven to twelve hours (Ref. 99880) and occurs at the bottom of the burrows; spawning occurs five weeks after mating. Migration: young crabs (2 cm CL) attend to estuarine waters and leave to enter the mangroves at lengths 7-9 cm for males and 8 cm for females; after which they return to the sea (Ref. 99886). Berried females are found during November-April with the peak in December and February (Ref. 99882).

IUCN Red List Status (Ref. 114614)


CITES status (Ref. 94142)

Not Evaluated

Threat to humans

Human uses

Fisheries: commercial
FAO(Aquaculture: production, fisheries: production) | FisheriesWiki | Sea Around Us

Internet sources

BHL | BOLD Systems | Check for other websites | Check FishWatcher | CISTI | DiscoverLife | FAO(Aquaculture: species profile; fisheries: species profile; publication : search) | GenBank (genome, nucleotide) | GOBASE | Google Books | Google Scholar | Google | ispecies | National databases | PubMed | Scirus | Sea Around Us | FishBase | Tree of Life | uBio | uBio RSS | Wikipedia (Go, Search) | Zoological Record

Estimation of some characteristics with mathematical models

Vulnerability (Ref. 71543)
Low vulnerability (18 of 100)
Price category (Ref. 80766)