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Scientific name: Mithraculus forceps A. Milne-Edwards, 1875

Common name: Red-ridged clinging crab

Species Codes for Trip Ticket Reporting:
Marine Life Code: 836 - Crab, red-ridged clinging

License and Endorsements Required for Commercial Harvest:
SPL - Saltwater Products License
RS - Restricted Species Endorsement
ML - Marine Life Endorsement

* These are unofficial designations, please see Florida Administrative Code Chapter 68B for specifics,

Interesting Notes:
Their distribution range includes the Atlantic from Bermuda to North Carolina, the Gulf of Mexico, the Caribbean and waters near Brazil (Wagner 1990).

They have previously been found to clean algae from several coral species, including Acropora spp., Porites spp., Siderastrea spp., and Oculina spp.

A distinguishing feature between M. forceps and other Mithraculus species is its four anterolateral spines along the carapace (shell) that increase in size toward the rear. Also, the merus (section between claw and body) is triangular with five spines on the outer margin and two prominent spines on the inner margin. The walking legs have long, slender hairs and spines.

Wagner, H.P. (1990) The genera Mithrax Latreille, 1818 and Mithraculus White, 1847 (Crustacea: Brachyura: Majidae) in the western Atlantic Ocean. Zool. Verh. Leiden 264, 15.xi: 1-65, figs. 1-55.

Specimen donated by: Pete Kehoe

Image Credit: FWC