Oyster crab

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Oyster crab
Zaops ostreum.jpg
Z. ostreus on Crassostrea virginica
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Crustacea
Class: Malacostraca
Order: Decapoda
Infraorder: Brachyura
Family: Pinnotheridae
Genus: Zaops
Species: Z. ostreus
Binomial name
Zaops ostreus
(Say, 1817) [1][2]
Synonyms [1]
  • Pinnotheres ostreum Say, 1817
  • Pinnotheres depressum Say, 1817
  • Zaops ostreum Say, 1817 [misspelling]

The oyster crab (Zaops ostreus) is a small, whitish or translucent crab in the family Pinnotheridae. Found specifically in oysters, they are an edible sea food delicacy.


It is less than half an inch across, and lives inside the gills of an oyster or a clam.[3] It uses the oyster for protection and lives on the food that the oyster gets for itself. It is found in oysters in the North Atlantic Ocean.[3]


Zaops ostreus is found along the eastern seaboards of North America and South America, from Massachusetts to Brazil, including the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea.[4]

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ a b P. K. L. Ng; D. Guinot & P. 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. ^ "Zaops ostreum (Say, 1817)". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved November 8, 2010. 
  3. ^ a b Paul A. Sandifer (1972). "Growth of young oyster crabs, Pinnotheres ostreum Say, reared in the laboratory". Chesapeake Science. 13 (3): 221–222. doi:10.2307/1351069. 
  4. ^ Darryl L. Felder; Fernando Álvarez; Joseph W. Goy & Rafael Lemaitre (2009). "Decapoda (Crustacea) of the Gulf of Mexico, with comments on the Amphionidacea". In John W. Tunnell Jr.; Darryl L. Felder & Sylvia A. Earle. Biodiversity. Gulf of Mexico Origin, Waters, and Biota. 1. Texas A&M University Press. pp. 1019–1105. ISBN 978-1-60344-094-3.