Orithyia sinica

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Orithyia sinica
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Crustacea
Class: Malacostraca
Order: Decapoda
Infraorder: Brachyura
Section: Eubrachyura
Subsection: Heterotremata
Superfamily: Orithyioidea
Dana, 1852
Family: Orithyiidae
Dana, 1852
Genus: Orithyia
Fabricius, 1798
Species: O. sinica
Binomial name
Orithyia sinica
(Linnaeus, 1771)
  • Cancer sinicus Linnaeus, 1771
  • Cancer bimaculatus Herbst, 1790
  • Cancer mammillaris Fabricius, 1793

Orithyia sinica, sometimes called the tiger crab or tiger face crab, is a "singularly unusual" species of crab,[1] whose characteristics warrant its separation into a separate genus, family and even superfamily,[1] having previously been included in the Dorippoidea or Leucosioidea.[2] Its larvae, for instance, are unlike those of any other crab.[3]


O. sinica is a distinctive species, with stripes on the legs, and prominent eyespots on the carapace; the females' abdomen is unusually narrow, leaving the vulvae exposed.[1] The legs are flattened at the end, and this is an adaptation to digging, not swimming.[1]

Distribution and fishery[edit]

O. sinica is found along the coast of mainland Asia from South Korea to Hong Kong, but is missing from the nearby islands, such as Taiwan, the Ryukyu Islands and Japan, even though the intervening waters are shallow and the crab's larvae are planktonic.[1] Throughout its range, O. sinica is fished on a small scale, and commands high prices.[1]


The name Orithyia (also spelt Orithuja) commemorates Orithyia, daughter of Erechtheus, King of Athens.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Peter K. L. Ng, Danièle Guinot & Peter J. F. Davie (2008). "Systema Brachyurorum: Part I. An annotated checklist of extant Brachyuran crabs of the world" (PDF). Raffles Bulletin of Zoology. 17: 1–286. 
  2. ^ Joel W. Martin & George E. Davis (2001). An Updated Classification of the Recent Crustacea (PDF). Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County. p. 132. 
  3. ^ A. L. Rice (1980). "The first zoeal stage of Ebalia nux A. Milne Edwards 1883, with a discussion of the zoeal characters of the Leucosiidae (Crustacea, Decapoda, Brachyura)". Journal of Natural History. 14 (3): 331–337. doi:10.1080/00222938000770281.