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Lady Crab Ovalipes ocellatus


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Lady Crab
credit: Invertzoo/CCSA

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Category: Crabs and Shrimp view all from this category

Description Ovalipes ocellatus is a species of crab from eastern North America, known as the lady crab, calico crab or ocellated crab. It has a shell 3 in (7.6 cm) long and only slightly wider, which is covered in clusters of purple spots. It occurs from Canada to Georgia, and lives mainly on molluscs, such as the Atlantic surf clam.

The carapace of O. ocellatus is slightly wider than long, at 8.9 centimetres (3.5 in) wide, and 7.5 cm (3.0 in) long. This distinguishes it from other crabs in the family Portunidae, which often have elongated lateral spines. The carapace is yellow-grey or light purplish, with "leopardlike clusters of purple dots", and 3 to 5 spines along the edge behind each eye. O. ovalipes is almost identical to O. floridanus, which lives in the Gulf of Mexico, but can be separated from the sympatric O. stephensoni by the purple spots, which O. stephensoni lacks.

Warning This handsome crab is known for its aggressive disposition and sharp pincers. It must be handled with great caution.

Habitat Rocks, Ocean or bay shallows.

Range Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Eastern Canada, New England.