crabs text index | photo index
Phylum Arthropoda > Subphylum Crustacea > Class Malacostraca > Order Decapoda > Brachyurans > Family Varunidae
Paddler crab
Varuna sp.
Family Varunidae
updated Dec 2019

Where seen? This crab with paddling legs is sometimes seen on our shores near mangroves and freshwater streams. It is usually seen drifting on flotsam or seaweed. This particular one was seen on top of a large piece of plastic.

Features: Body width 3-5cm. It has a squarish body and flat legs. The last two pairs of legs are paddle shaped and fringed with hairs. These allow the crab to paddle for short distances. It is actually a freshwater crab but adults return to the sea to hatch their eggs.

What does it eat? It is a scavenger.

Human uses: In many parts of Southeast Asia, these little crabs are harvested as food. The females with eggs are particularly relished.

Changi Jun 07

Paddler crabs on Singapore shores
On wildsingapore flickr

Links References
  • Ng, Peter K. L. and Daniele Guinot and Peter J. F. Davie, 2008. Systema Brachyurorum: Part 1. An annotated checklist of extant Brachyuran crabs of the world. The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology. Supplement No. 17, 31 Jan 2008. 286 pp.
  • Lim, S., P. Ng, L. Tan, & W. Y. Chin, 1994. Rhythm of the Sea: The Life and Times of Labrador Beach. Division of Biology, School of Science, Nanyang Technological University & Department of Zoology, the National University of Singapore. 160 pp.
  • Wee Y.C. and Peter K. L. Ng. 1994. A First Look at Biodiversity in Singapore. National Council on the Environment. 163pp.
links | references | about | email Ria
Spot errors? Have a question? Want to share your sightings? email Ria I'll be glad to hear from you!
wildfactsheets website©ria tan 2008