Range/Geographical Distribution: Massachusetts to the Gulf of Mexico and Brazil.
Habitat: Shallow waters along sandy beaches.
Description: A small swimming crab with a brown/maroon carapace covered in yellow spots.
Size: Can reach five inches in carapace (shell) width.
Food: Detritus, crustaceans, fish, mollusks, and hatchling sea turtles.
Breeding: Mate year round. Male holds onto a female until she molts, after which they mate. Females can produce up to 682,000 eggs and they carry the eggs under their abdomen until they hatch. Larvae go through several planktonic stages before becoming a juvenile crab.
Predators: Sea turtles, fish, and birds.
Conservation Status: No legal status.
Interesting Facts: Speckled swimming crabs are nocturnal and can host parasitic barnacles. They are also commercially fished in Brazil.
On the Coast: Live speckled crabs are rarely seen but pieces of their molts (exoskeleton) often wash up on Georgia’s beaches.