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Is This The Biggest Crab Ever Captured in Irish Waters?

30th October 2023
Queen of the Crabs -  A rare Box Crab was caught off the Irish Coast by Deividas Uosis and Niall Flannery from the fishing boat Barnacle II
Queen of the Crabs - A rare Box Crab was caught off the Irish Coast by Deividas Uosis and Niall Flannery from the fishing boat Barnacle II

A rare Box Crab with over a 9-foot leg span was caught off the Irish coast by Deividas Uosis and Niall Flannery from the fishing boat Barnacle II. 

The giant crab was presented to Dr Kevin Flannery, a marine biologist with Oceanworld in Dingle, County Kerry.

Box crabs are common on shallow sandy flats and in sandy patches on coral reefs. They spend much of their time buried in the sand with only their sensory structures and respiratory openings at the surface. When foraging for food they walk freely over the bottom on sharply pointed walking legs. 

Box crabs are named for their distinctive shape and design. Their rounded, dome-shaped carapace is usually broader than it is long with wing-like side extensions that conceal the four pairs of walking legs.

The broad, flat claws are held like shields, protecting the crab’s front surface and completing the box-like appearance. The claws’ shielding posture gives rise to another common name for this group, “shame-faced crabs”.

Published in Marine Wildlife, Fishing Team

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Marine Wildlife Around Ireland One of the greatest memories of any day spent boating around the Irish coast is an encounter with marine wildlife.  It's a thrill for young and old to witness seabirds, seals, dolphins and whales right there in their own habitat. As boaters fortunate enough to have experienced it will testify even spotting a distant dorsal fin can be the highlight of any day afloat.  Was that a porpoise? Was it a whale? No matter how brief the glimpse it's a privilege to share the seas with Irish marine wildlife.

Thanks to the location of our beautiful little island, perched in the North Atlantic Ocean there appears to be no shortage of marine life to observe.

From whales to dolphins, seals, sharks and other ocean animals this page documents the most interesting accounts of marine wildlife around our shores. We're keen to receive your observations, your photos, links and youtube clips.

Boaters have a unique perspective and all those who go afloat, from inshore kayaking to offshore yacht racing that what they encounter can be of real value to specialist organisations such as the Irish Whale and Dolphin Group (IWDG) who compile a list of sightings and strandings. The IWDG knowledge base has increased over the past 21 years thanks in part at least to the observations of sailors, anglers, kayakers and boaters.

Thanks to the IWDG work we now know we share the seas with dozens of species who also call Ireland home. Here's the current list: Atlantic white-sided dolphin, beluga whale, blue whale, bottlenose dolphin, common dolphin, Cuvier's beaked whale, false killer whale, fin whale, Gervais' beaked whale, harbour porpoise, humpback whale, killer whale, minke whale, northern bottlenose whale, northern right whale, pilot whale, pygmy sperm whale, Risso's dolphin, sei whale, Sowerby's beaked whale, sperm whale, striped dolphin, True's beaked whale and white-beaked dolphin.

But as impressive as the species list is the IWDG believe there are still gaps in our knowledge. Next time you are out on the ocean waves keep a sharp look out!