Record from EWT reserve confirmed as UK first for Hemigrapsus takanoi

Hemigrapsus takanoi. Photo: Essex Wildlife Trust

A record of a non-native crab found during a Shoresearch survey at Colne Point in Essex in 2011 has been confirmed by the Natural History Museum as the first known UK record of Hemigrapsus takanoi, a shore crab native to the Western Pacific. 

This species, also known as the brush-clawed shore crab, was initially recorded in France in the mid 1990's but was not thought to have crossed the channel until 2014, when it was recorded in the River Colne and the River Medway in Kent. This record suggests that the species had already been present in the Colne Estuary earlier than originally thought. This year they have been recorded as being very abundant in the River Orwell in Suffolk, and they have the potential to have negative impacts on native crab species. Further monitoring will be needed to determine what impact they have.

Have you seen a crab that looks similar along the Essex coast? Take a photo and send the record to us at, or submit the sighting online!