Warty Crab - Eriphia Verrucosa

eriphia-verrucosa-2 Photo with permission by Miro Andric, Hrvatsko Podmorje - Croatia's Undersea World

Latin: Eriphia Verrucosa

English: Warty Crab, Yellow Crab

French: Crabe Verruqueux

Italian: Granchio Favollo, Granchio Fellone

Croatian: Kosmelj, Kosma─Ź, Kosmej, ┼Żbirac, Grmalj

About: Warty crab - Eriphia Verrucosa - or sometimes called Yellow crab, is a species of crab of the Eriphiidae family.

Carapace maximum size is 9 cm in width and 7 cm in length, with crab maximum weight of around 0.40kg. Such specimens are rare and on average, it is much smaller - around 50g (little less than 2 ounces).

The carapace is thick and smooth with brownish-red to brownish-green back, with numerous yellow and white spots, with transition to more orange-reddish and white abdomen.

The claws are very strong and have black fingers, with one claw being often larger than the other. It feeds on gastropods, bivalves, hermit crabs, molluscs etc.

It is very fast, agile and strong crab. It spawns in May and June.

Warning: such claws can hurt, but really hurt - they are designed for breaking into the shells of various snails, for example, and human skin is like wet paper to them. Been there, done that mistake :)

Habitat: Eriphia verrucosa can be found in the Black Sea, throughout Mediterranean Sea and eastern Atlantic Ocean.

Warty crab lives among rocks, stones and seaweeds in shallow water along rocky coastlines up to a depth of 10 meters, rarely deeper.


Photo of Eriphia Verrucosa (Wikipedia), by George Chernilevsky
Note: photo is released into the public domain.
However, we really can't use this fantastic photo without giving the credit to the Author! Nice work, George! :)

Fishing period: It can be caught year long, but much more often during warmer months. It feeds mostly during the night and hides during the day in holes and crevices. However, it will leave the shelter even during the day when lured with the smell of fish meat or even some cheese.

Fishing rigs and tackle: It can be caught with a speargun or knife.

It can be also caught with hands, just be wary of those claws: grab the crab from the behind with thumb on his back and at least two fingers on the abdomen - this way it can't fight back (but it will, if it finds the opportunity). What ever you do, it is your own responsibility :)

Rarely, it can be caught in fish traps or it can be even accidentally hooked.

Warty crab is great bait for longlines in shallow water, especially when it is alive.

Also, it is often used as bait for octopus - line is tied to the crab and crab is pulled close to the bottom. When octopus grabs the crab, it will never let it go until octopus is above the surface - so, reel in the crab with octopus and using hand-net, land the octopus into the boat or on the shore.

Cuisine: Meat is very tasty, very similar to other crabs. It is best in mixed fish stew, where it gives special aroma to entire meal. Larger specimens can be barbequed.