The velvet crab, or alternately velvet swimming crab, devil crab, “fighter crab”, or lady crab, Necora puber, is a species of crab from the North-East Atlantic and the Mediterranean. It is the largest of the swimming crab family (Portunidae) found in British coastal waters. It has a carapace width of up to 100 millimetres (3.9 in), and is the only species in the genus Necora.[1] Its body is coated with short hairs, giving the animal a velvety texture, hence the common name. It is one of the major crab species for United Kingdom fisheries, in spite of its relatively small size.

Velvet crab
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Malacostraca
Order: Decapoda
Suborder: Pleocyemata
Infraorder: Brachyura
Superfamily: Portunoidea
Family: Polybiidae
Genus: Necora
Holthuis, 1987
N. puber
Binomial name
Necora puber
  • Cancer puber Linnaeus, 1767
  • Liocarcinus puber (Linnaeus, 1767)
  • Macropipus puber (Linnaeus, 1767)
  • Portunus puber (Linnaeus, 1767)
  • Cancer velutinus Pennant, 1777

The velvet crab lives from southern Norway to Western Sahara in the North Sea and in North Atlantic as well as in the western parts of the Mediterranean Sea, on the rocky bottom from the shoreline to a depth of about 65 metres (213 ft). The last pair of pereiopods are flattened to facilitate swimming.


  1. ^ L. B. Holthuis (1987). "Necora, a new genus of European swimming crabs (Crustacea Decapoda, Portunidae) and its type species, Cancer puber L., 1767" (PDF). Zoologische Mededelingen. 61 (1): 1–14.