Association with vessel vectors

Actual evidence of being found in samples in a particular vector from any world region.

Anchor and anchor chains. Organisms found on anchors, anchor chain or within attached sediments, including anchor chain lockers.

Ballast water. Ballast water means water with its suspended matter taken on board a ship to control trim, list, draught, stability or stresses of the ship.

Biofouling. Biofouling means the accumulation of aquatic organisms such as micro-organisms, plants, and animals on surfaces and structures immersed in or exposed to the aquatic environment. Biofouling can include microfouling and macrofouling.

  • Macrofouling means large, distinct multicellular organisms visible to the human eye such as barnacles, tubeworms, or fronds of algae.
  • Microfouling means microscopic organisms including bacteria and diatoms and the slimy substances that they produce.
Biofouling comprised of only microfouling is commonly referred to as a slime layer.

Sea chest. The sea chests are cavities (an opening with protection grid) at the bottom side of the ships’ hull (an opening for pumping in and out water for, e.g., ballasting, firefighting) where aquatic organisms may settle and be transported.

Tank sediments. Matter settled out of ballast water within a ship.

Bioaccumulation association

Natural toxins. An organism that accumulates toxins naturally produced by other organisms, such as phytotoxins, in its tissues.

Anthropogenic chemical compounds. An organism that accumulates human-produced chemicals, such as pharmaceuticals, heavy metals, pesticides, dioxins, in its tissues.

Characteristic feeding method

Chemoautotroph. An organism that obtains metabolic energy by oxidation of inorganic substrates such as sulphur, nitrogen or iron.

Deposit feeder – Subsurface. Synonym: detritivore. An organism feeding on fragmented particulate organic matter in the substratum.

Deposit feeder – Surface. Synonym: detritivore. An organism feeding on fragmented particulate organic matter from the surface of the substratum.

Grazer. An organism feeding on plants (higher aquatic plants, benthic algae and phytoplankton) and/or sessile animals organisms.

Herbivore. An organism feeding on plants (higher aquatic plants, benthic algae and phytoplankton).

Mixotroph. An organism both autotrophic and heterotrophic.

Omnivore. An organism feeding on mixed diet of plant and animal material.

Parasite. Feeding on the tissues, blood or other substances of a host.

Photoautotroph. An organism that obtains metabolic energy from light by photosynthesis (e.g. seaweeds, phytoplankton).

Planktotroph. An organism feeding on plankton.

Predator. An organism that feeds by preying on other organisms, killing them for food.

Scavenger. An organism feeding on dead and decaying organic material.

Suspension feeder – Active. An organism feeding on particulate organic matter, including plankton, suspended in the water column, collecting it actively by sweeping or pumping (creating feeding currents).

Suspension feeder – Passive. An organism feeding on particulate organic matter, including plankton, suspended in the water column, utilizing the natural flow to bring particles in contact with feeding structures.

Symbiont contribution. Where some dietary component(s) are provided by symbiotic organisms (e.g. Anemonia with zooxanthellae).

Developmental trait

Brooding. The incubation of eggs either inside or outside the body. Eggs may be brooded to a variety of developmental stages. Males or females may be responsible for brooding.

Direct development. A life cycle lacking a larval stage.

Spawning. The release of gametes into the water.

Lecithotrophy. Development at the expense of internal resources (i.e. yolk) provided by the female.

Parental care. Any form of parental behaviour that is likely to increase the fitness of offspring.

Planktotrophy. Feeding on plankton.

Resting stages. The quiescent stage in the life cycle (dormancy, diapause).

Viviparous. Producing live offspring from within parental body.

Habitat modifying ability potential

Autogenic ecosystem engineers. Organisms which change the environment via their own physical structures (i.e. their living and dead tissues) such as corals, oysters, kelps, sea grasses, etc.

Allogenic ecosystem engineers. Organisms which modify the environment by causing physical state changes in biotic and abiotic materials that, directly or indirectly, modulate the availability of resources to other species (e.g. excavating deep burrows which other organisms co-occupy, damming the water flow, etc).

Keystone species. A keystone species is crucial in maintaining the organization and diversity of its ecological community, by determining the types and numbers of other species.

Life form

Neuston. Organisms that live on (epineuston) or under (hyponeuston) the surface film of water bodies.

Zoobenthos. Animals living on or in the seabed.

Phytobenthos. Algae and higher plants living on or in the seabed.

Zooplankton. Animals living in the water column, unable to maintain their position independent of water movements.

Phytoplankton. Microscopic plankton algae and cyanobacteria.

Benthopelagos. Synonyms: hyperbenthic, benthopelagic, nektobenthic, demersal. An organism living at, in or near the bottom of the sea, but having the ability to swim.

Nekton. Actively swimming aquatic organisms able to move independently of water currents.

Parasite. An organism intimately associated with and metabolically dependent on another living organism (host) for completion of its life cycle.

Symbiont (nonparasitic). An organism living mutually with another species without harming it. Association of two species (symbionts) may be mutually beneficial.


Boring. An organism capable of penetrating a solid substrate by mechanical scraping or chemical dissolution.

Burrowing. An organism capable of digging in sediment.

Crawling. An organism moving slowly along on the substrate.

Drifting. An organism whose movement is dependent on wind or water currents.

Permanent attachment. Non-motile; permanently attached at the base. Also includes permanent attachment to a host.

Swimming. An organism capable of moving through the water by means of fins, limbs or appendages.

Temporary attachment. Temporary / sporadic attachment. Attached to a substratum but capable of movement across (or through) it (e.g. Actinia). Also includes temporary attachment to a host.

Native origin

The region the species originates from.


References should follow the standard of Biological invasions:

Journal article
Gamelin FX, Baquet G, Berthoin S, Thevenet D, Nourry C, Nottin S, Bosquet L (2009) Effect of high intensity intermittent training on heart rate variability in prepubescent children. Eur J Appl Physiol 105:731-738. doi: 10.1007/s00421-008-0955-8
Ideally, the names of all authors should be provided, but the usage of “et al” in long author lists will also be accepted:
Smith J, Jones M Jr, Houghton L et al (1999) Future of health insurance. N Engl J Med 965:325–329

Article by DOI

Slifka MK, Whitton JL (2000) Clinical implications of dysregulated cytokine production. J Mol Med. doi:10.1007/s001090000086

South J, Blass B (2001) The future of modern genomics. Blackwell, London

Book chapter
Brown B, Aaron M (2001) The politics of nature. In: Smith J (ed) The rise of modern genomics, 3rd edn. Wiley, New York, pp 230-257

Online document
Cartwright J (2007) Big stars have weather too. IOP Publishing PhysicsWeb. Accessed 26 June 2007

Trent JW (1975) Experimental acute renal failure. Dissertation, University of California

Reproductive frequency

Iteroparous. Organisms breeding more than once in their lifetime.

Semelparous. Organisms breeding once in their lifetime.

Reproductive type

Asexual. Budding, Fission, Fragmentaion, including parthenogenesis. A form of asexual multiplication in which:
a) a new individual begins life as an outgrowth from the body of the parent. It may then separate to lead an independent existence or remain connected or otherwise associated to form a colonial organism;
b) the ovum develops into a new individual without fertilization;
c) division of the body into two or more parts each or all of which can grow into new individuals is involved.

Self-fertilization. Selfing or autogamy. The union of a male and female gamete produced by the same individual.

Sexual. Permanent hermaphrodite, Protandrous hermaphrodite, Protogynous hermaphrodite, Gonochoristic.
Capable of producing both ova and spermatozoa either at the same time. A condition of hermaphroditism in plants and animals where male gametes mature and are shed before female gametes mature or vice versa.
Having separate sexes.


The exact salinity range if known (psu), else salinity zone(s) according to the Venice system:
1. Limnetic [<0.5psu]
2. β-Oligohaline [0.5-3psu]
3. α-Oligohaline [3-5psu]
4. β-Mesohaline [5-10psu]
5. α-Mesohaline [10-18psu]
6. Polymixohaline [18-30psu]
7. Euhaline [30-40psu]
8. Hypersaline [>40psu]


Colonial. Descriptive of organisms produced asexually which remain associated with each other; in many animals, retaining tissue contact with other polyps or zooids as a result of incomplete budding.

Gregarious. Organisms living in groups or communities, growing in clusters.

Solitary. Living alone, not gregarious.

Sub-species level

A geographical subset of a species showing discrete differences in morphology, coloration or other features when compared with other members of the species. Subspecies may also differ in their habitat or behavior, but they can interbreed. Often the lowest taxonomic level within a classification system.


Valid synonyms of a species (not all of them).


Poisonous. An organism capable of producing poison that gains entry to another organism body via the gastrointestinal tract, the respiratory tract, or via absorption through intact body layers.

Venomous. An organism capable of producing poison, usually injected through another organism intact skin by bite or sting.

Not relevant. Neither poisonous nor venomous.

Public domain: Species account

Species Eriocheir sinensis [WoRMS]
Authority H. Milne Edwards, 1853
Family Varunidae  
Order Decapoda  
Class Malacostraca  
Phylum Arthropoda  
Synonym (?) Eriocheir sinensis f. acutifrons (Panning, 1938)
Eriocheir sinensis f. rostratus (Panning, 1938)
Eriocheir sinensis f. rotundifrons (Panning, 1938)
Sub-species level (?) Not entered
Native origin (?) Country: China
--> LME: 36. South China Sea
--> LME: 47. East China Sea

Pacific NW
Life form / Life stage (?)
 AdultJuvenileLarvaeEggsResting stage
Symbiont (non parasitic)

References (not structured):
Anger K (1991) Effects of temperature and salinity on the larval development of the Chinese mitten crab Eriocheir sinensis (Decapoda: Grapsidae). Marine Ecology Progress Series, Volume 72: 103-110pp

A characteristic feature is the mitten like "fur" on the claws.
Larval development consists normally of a prezoea, 5 zoeal stages, and a megalopa and disperse with water currents, juveniles and adults show active migration (can migrate up to ca 1000 km upstream while growing to adult size)
Sociability / Life stage (?)
 AdultJuvenileLarvaeEggsResting stage
Reproductive frequency (?) Semelparous

References (not structured):
Kaestner A (1970) III. Crustacea. Invertebrate Zoology. John Wiley and Sons Inc., New York, 523 pp.

Both males and females are thought to die following reproduction
Reproductive type (?) Sexual

Kaestner A (1970) III. Crustacea. Invertebrate Zoology. John Wiley and Sons Inc., New York, 523 pp
Rudnick D, Veldhuizen T, Tullis R, Culver C, Hieb K, Tsukimura B (2005) A life history model for the San Francisco Estuary population of the Chinese mitten crab, Eriocheir sinensis (Decapoda: Grapsoidea). Biological Invasions, Volume 7:2, 333 – 350

Young mitten crabs molt once every 2 weeks. ‘Age 1’ crabs are hatchlings from the previous calendar year and by this stage, their their abdominal shape is clearly differentiated and their sex can be identified. At the begining of age 2, crabs can range in size from 25–49 mm and are progressing to sexual maturity as well as increased growth of setae on the walking legs, increase in fullness of the mittens of setae on the front claws, particularly in males and the sperm ducts become fully developed and clearly visible when the abdomen is lifted away from the carapace, while in females, setae begin to form around the outer edge of the abdomen and the abdomen becomes more rounded and fills in a larger portion of the underside of the carapace
Developmental trait (?) Brooding

Anger K (1990) Der Lebenszyklus der Chinesischen Wollhandkrabbe (Eriocheir sinensis) in Norddeutschland: Gegenwärtiger Stand des Wissens und neue Untersuchungen. Seevogel, 11, (2), 32-37 pp.

Ovigerous females can brood between 250 000 to 1 million eggs.
Females brood the eggs and, upon hatching, larvae are planktonic for one to two months. During this marine free-swimming phase, larvae pass through a series of developmental stages: a brief non-feeding pre-zoea stage, five zoea stages and one megalopea stage
Characteristic feeding method / Life stage (?)
 AdultJuvenileLarvaeEggsResting stage
Suspension feeder – Active
Suspension feeder – Passive
Deposit feeder – Surface
Deposit feeder – Sub-surface
Symbiont contribution

References (not structured):
Panning A (1938) The chinese Mitten Crab. Smithsonian Rep, 361-375 pp

Chinese mitten crabs feed on a wide variety of plants, invertebrates, fishes and detritus. crab is known to be predominantly omnivorous, although feeding habits may shift throughout the life cycle. The larvae feed on phytoplankton and zooplankton, while the diet of newly settled juveniles consists mostly of aquatic plants. As they grow, crabs become more carnivorous.
Mobility / Life stage (?)
 AdultJuvenileLarvaeEggsResting stage
Temporary attachment
Permanent attachment

References (not structured):
Anger K (1990) Der Lebenszyklus der Chinesischen Wollhandkrabbe (Eriocheir sinensis) in Norddeutschland: Gegenwärtiger Stand des Wissens und neue Untersuchungen. Seevogel, 11, (2), 32-37 pp

Larvae migrate into fresh water and crabs can migrate up river long distances, up to 1300 km
Salinity tolerance range (?) Exact range: 0.5 - 8.8

Olenin, S., & Daunys, D. (2004). Coastal typology based on benthic biotope and community data: the Lithuanian case study. Coastline Reports, 4, 65-84.

Summerson, R., Darbyshire, R., & Lawrence, E. (2007). Invasive marine species range mapping. Australian Government, Bureau of Rural Sciences.
Bacevicius E (2004) The new data on ecology of alien fish species and fish metazoan parasites in the Curonian lagoon and Lithuanian coastal zone. Baltic - the sea of aliens, Gdynia, Poland 25-27.08.2004, Book of Abstracts: 17-18.
Gollasch S, Leppakoski E 1999. Initial Risk Assessment of Alien Species in Nordic Coastal Waters. Nord, 8: 7-124
Gruszka (1999) The river Odra estuary as a gateway for alien species immigration to the Baltic Sea Basin. Acta hydrochimica et hydrobiologica, 27(5): 374-382.
Eriocheir sinensis, 2002. /Eriocheirsinensis.html

Adults live in fresh waters; egg-laying and hatching takes place in estuaries or coastal regions. Larvae migrate into fresh water and crabs can migrate up river long distances, up to 1300 km. Ovigerous October-January, larvae March-July.
Habitat modifying ability potential (?) Keystone species

Rudnick D, Veldhuizen T, Tullis R, Culver C, Hieb K, Tsukimura B (2005) A life history model for the San Francisco Estuary population of the Chinese mitten crab, Eriocheir sinensis (Decapoda: Grapsoidea). Biological Invasions, Volume 7:2, 333 – 350

competes for space and food especially during mass developments which can impact freshwater and estuarine food webs at many levels, as it has an opportunistic diet that includes algae, detritus, and a variety of benthic macroinvertebrates.
Toxicity / Life stage (?) Not relevant

The species is known as delicacy and is traded on Asian markets for human consumption.
Bioaccumulation association (?) Anthropogenic chemical compounds

Wang, L., Yang, X., Wang, Q., & Wang, D. (2000). The accumulation of Cd~(2+) and the effect on est in five tissues and organs of eriocheir sinensis. Acta zoologica Sinica, 47, 96-100.

Che, R. O., & Cheung, S. G. (1998). Heavy metals in Metapenaeus ensis, Eriocheir sinensis and sediment from the Mai Po marshes, Hong Kong. Science of the total environment, 214(1), 87-97.

Known to accumulate heavy metals
Association with vessel vectors (?) Ballast waters

Gollasch S, Macdonald E, Belson S, Botnen H, Christensen JT, Hamer JP, Houvenaghel G, Jelmert A, Lucas I, Masson D, McCollin T, Olenin S, Persson A, Wallentinus I, Wetsteyn LPMJ, Wittling T (2002) Life in Ballast Tanks In: Invasive aquatic species of Europe - distribution, impact and management. Leppäkoski, E., S. Gollasch & S. Olenin (eds). Kluwer Academic Publishers: 217-231
Molecular information Available

Molecular information is available in GenBank under the accession numbers: MT758281-MT758285
Last update byAleksas Narščius, 2020-08-26