The oyster crab (Zaops ostreus) is a small, whitish or translucent crab in the family Pinnotheridae.

Oyster crab
Zaops ostreum.jpg
Z. ostreus on Crassostrea virginica
Scientific classification
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]


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]


  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. JSTOR 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 (eds.). Biodiversity. Gulf of Mexico Origin, Waters, and Biota. 1. Texas A&M University Press. pp. 1019–1105. ISBN 978-1-60344-094-3.

Further readingEdit