Eriocheir sinensis H. Milne-Edwards, 1853

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English Chinese mitten crab Status LU: casual. 1st record: 1978.
Lëtzebuergesch Chinesesch Wollhandkrabb Status Eur.: established. IAS of EU concern (2016).
Français Crabe chinois RA: ISEIA: C0. Harmonia+: n/a.
Deutsch Chinesische Wollhandkrabbe Wikipedia: Wikipedia - English - Chinese mitten crab Wikipedia - Français - Crabe chinois Wikipedia - Deutsch - Chinesische Wollhandkrabbe Nederlands | Wikispecies: Wikispecies - Eriocheir sinensis | IUCNGISD | CABI
Nederlands Chinese wolhandkrab Back to the list of invertebrates

Report the species

Report Eriocheir sinensis to the National Museum of Natural History.

Brief description


Male specimen of Eriocheir sinensis. Photo by Christian Fischer, 2007-10-06, North-western Brandenburg, Germany.

Eriocheir sinensis H. Milne-Edwards, 1853 is a migrating crab which has invaded Europe and North America from its native region of Asia. During its mass migrations it contributes to the temporary local extinction of native invertebrates. It modifies habitats by causing erosion due to its intensive burrowing activity and costs fisheries and aquaculture several hundreds of thousands of dollars per year by consuming bait and trapped fish, as well as by damaging gear (GISD 2019).

IAS of Union concern

In 2016, Eriocheir sinensis H. Milne-Edwards, 1853 was added to the list of invasive alien species of Union concern (Anonymous 2016) which implies that member states shall take all necessary steps to prevent it’s unintentional introduction or spread.

Status and distribution in Luxembourg

Records of Eriocheir sinensis H. Milne-Edwards, 1853 in Luxembourg. Data source: Recorder-Lux, iNaturalist & GBIF, 2024-06-25.

There is no distribution map available because no data has been entered into the Recorder-Lux database so far (MNHNL, iNaturalist & GBIF 2019).

Eriocheir sinensis H. Milne-Edwards, 1853 was first documented in Luxembourg in 1978 by Claude Meisch who found one individual in a pond of the Haff Réimech nature conservation reserve, municipality of Schengen (Meisch 1978): “It can be regarded as relatively common in the Moselle valley. A single specimen was found in the pond area. It must be regarded as an aberration, since the ponds do not correspond to its normal location”.

Field research by Dhur and Massard in the years 1992-1993 did not find Eriocheir sinensis in the ecosystem of the border Moselle (Dhur & Massard 1995): “It seems likely that currently the species, even if its presence seems confirmed for the period before 1960, no longer populates the waters of the Luxembourg Moselle. A call to fishermen in 1994 (Massard 1994)1 for them to report a possible presence of Eriocheir did not produce any results. In fact, after its expansion phase, Eriocheir has become considerably scarcer over the past forty years in most of the colonised areas of northern France and the Benelux (Vigneux et al. 1993). No E. sinensis stations are indicated in Lorraine by Vigneux et al. (1993), neither for the period before 1960 nor for the one after.”

On 4 March 2020, two adult crabs of the species Eriocheir sinensis (1 male and 1 female) were found by an inhabitant of the ‘Petite rue du Moulin’ in Esch-sur-Alzette.The crabs were brought to the National Museum of Natural History.

Two adult Eriocheir sinensis (1 male and 1 female) found in Esch-sur-Alzette. Photo: 4 March 2020, Déierenasyl Gaasperech.

Risk assessment

ISEIA protocol

C0 (2+1+2+2) (Ries et al. 2017: 68).

Harmonia+ protocol

Not assessed yet.

Worldwide distribution

CABI 2014:


  • Anonymous, 2016. Commission implementing regulation (EU) 2016/1141 of 13 July 2016 adopting a list of invasive alien species of Union concern pursuant to Regulation (EU) No 1143/2014 of the European Parliament and of the Council. Official Journal of the European Union L 189: 4-5.
  • CABI, 2014. Eriocheir sinensis H. Milne-Edwards, 1853 [original text by Stephan Gollasch & Paul Clark]. In: Invasive Species Compendium. Wallingford, UK: CAB International. URL: [accessed 2019-11-25]
  • Dhur, G. et J. A. Massard, 1995. Étude historique et faunistique des Invertébrés immigrés ou introduits dans la Moselle luxembourgeoise et ses affluents. Bull. Soc. Nat. luxemb. 96: 127-156. [PDF]
  • GISD, 2019. Species profile: Eriocheir sinensis in the Global Invasive Species Database. URL: [accessed 2019-11-26]
  • Massard, J. A., 1994. Gesucht: die Chinesische Wollhandkrabbe. Lëtzebuerger Journal 1994, Nr. 94 (19. Mai): 10.
  • Meisch, C., 1978. Nachweis der Wollhandkrabbe (Eriocheir sinensis). P. 40 in: Baggerweieren Remerschen/Wentreng: Erhuelung an Naturschutz oder Ausverkaf vun enger Landschaft? Jeunes et environnement, Luxembourg. [PDF]
  • Meisch, C. & J.A. Massard, 2015. Les recherches sur les crustacés (Crustacea) du Luxembourg : aperçu historique. Bull. Soc. Nat. luxemb. 116: 381-390. [PDF 1,22 MB]
  • MNHNL, iNaturalist & GBIF, 2019. MNHNL-mdata, online portal combining species observation from Recorder-Lux, iNaturalist and GBIF. National Museum of Natural History, Luxembourg. URL: [Accessed 2019-10-25]
  • Ries, C., A. Arendt, C. Braunert, S. Christian, A. Dohet, A. Frantz, G. Geimer, M. Hellers, J. A. Massard, X. Mestdagh, R. Proess, N. Schneider & M. Pfeiffenschneider, 2017. Environmental impact assessment and black, watch and alert list classification after the ISEIA Protocol of invertebrates in Luxembourg. Bull. Soc. Nat. luxemb. 119: 63-70. [PDF 360 KB]
  • Vigneux, E., P. Keith & P. Noël, 1993. Atlas préliminaire des Crustacés Décapodes d’eau douce de France. Coll. Patrimoines Naturels 14, S.F.F., 8.1.M.M.-M.N.H.N., Min. Env., Paris, 55 p.

 Page content last updated on 2020-03-12. Last proofread by Caroline Grounds on 2019-12-10.

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