As the shimmering sun begins to dip below the horizon and the salty sea air dances through the mangroves, the rugged coastline of India comes alive with a flurry of activity. Among the many creatures that scuttle across the sandy beaches and rocky tidepools are the crabs of India, a fascinating and diverse group of crustaceans that never fail to capture the imagination.

From the towering Coconut Crabs that roam the islands of the Andaman and Nicobar archipelago to the elusive Ghost Crabs that dart across the shoreline, these creatures come in all shapes and sizes, each with their own unique adaptations and behaviors. Some, like the Red King Crab, are prized for their succulent meat and are harvested by local fishermen, while others, such as the Fiddler Crab, are known for their intricate courtship displays and flamboyant claws.

Fish CharacteristicDescription
Common NameIndian Crab
Scientific NamePortunus pelagicus
Colour (s)Blue or greyish-brown
Average LengthUp to 20 cm
Average WeightUp to 400 grams
Which coastal waters its found?East coast and West coast of India


In terms of color, many crabs found in India are shades of brown, gray, or green, which helps them blend into their surroundings and avoid predators. Some species may also have brightly colored markings on their shells or claws, which they use for display during courtship or territorial battles.

The length of Indian crabs can vary greatly depending on the species. Some of the smaller species may only be a few centimeters long, while larger species can reach up to a meter in length, including their legs.

Most crabs have five pairs of legs, with the first two pairs modified into claws or pincers that they use for defense and capturing prey. The rest of the legs are used for movement and for manipulating food.

Crabs are generally not known for their speed, but they are able to move quickly when necessary. Some species can run at speeds of up to 10 kilometers per hour, which helps them evade predators or catch prey.

In terms of fins, crabs do not have traditional fins like fish do. Instead, they have paddle-like structures on the ends of their legs, which they use for swimming and maneuvering in the water.

Habitat and Food

In general, crabs are benthic animals, which means they prefer to live on or near the bottom of the ocean or other bodies of water. Some species are found close to the shore, in shallow waters less than 10 meters deep, while others inhabit deeper waters up to several hundred meters deep.

Crabs are omnivores, which means they eat both plants and animals. They have a diverse diet that includes algae, plankton, mollusks, small fish, and even carrion. Some species are scavengers, feeding on dead animals and organic matter, while others are active hunters, using their claws to catch prey.

In terms of crabs found in India, there are several species of commercially important crabs, such as the mud crab, blue swimming crab, and red crab, that are caught and consumed by humans. These crabs are typically found in estuaries, mangroves, and nearshore waters, where they feed on a variety of small organisms, including worms, mollusks, and small fish.

IUCN Status

There are many species of crabs found in India, each with their own unique conservation status. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) is a global organization that assesses the conservation status of species worldwide and assigns them to categories ranging from “Least Concern” to “Critically Endangered”.

One example is the Horseshoe crab, which is found along the coast of India. This ancient creature is classified as “Vulnerable” on the IUCN Red List, which means that it is at risk of becoming endangered in the near future if conservation measures are not put in place. The horseshoe crab is threatened by habitat loss due to coastal development and pollution, as well as overfishing and collection for use as bait and in traditional medicine.

Another example is the Indian Ocean blue swimming crab, which is an important commercial species in India. This species is currently listed as “Data Deficient” on the IUCN Red List, which means that there is not enough information available to assess its conservation status. More research is needed to better understand the population trends and threats facing this species.

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