Range/Geographical Distribution: North Carolina to the Gulf of Mexico.
Habitat: Shallow, subtidal waters along beaches and bays.
Description: A small crab with a round, globular shell that is pale yellow with red/purple irregular markings.
Size: Can reach two inches in carapace (shell) width.
Food: Dead and live fish, crabs, clams, and other invertebrates.
Breeding: Mate during the summer. The fertilized eggs are brooded on the female’s abdomen until they hatch. Newly hatched larvae go through free-floating planktonic stages before settling onto the benthos.
Predators: Crabs, birds, and fish.
Conservation Status: No legal status.
Interesting Facts: Female purse crabs carry their eggs in a large pouch on their abdomen, which somewhat resembles a woman’s purse.
On the Coast: Purse crabs sometimes wash up live on Georgia’s beaches but more commonly beachcombers will find pieces of their molts (shed exoskeleton).