Crustaceans of South Africa

© Jean Tresfon
Crayfish is a delicacy in South Africa.

The crustaceans of South Africa are not only an interesting part of the country's marine life, but they are also a valuble food resource for consumers. Most crustaceans are aquatic animals with a hard exoskeleton, such as lobsters, krill, crabs and crayfish.

The West Coast of South Africa is a well-known breeding spot for crustaceans, and various commercial and small-scale fishing operations in the area make their livelyhood from extraction of the species for consumption. provides more information on the crustaceans of South Africa as part of their comprehensive Marine Guide. 

Cleaner Shrimp

Alpheoidea super family consists of 22 genera and 129 species. This super family includes all shrimps....more


Brachyura infra-order is a group of crabs that have no visible tail. Falls under the suborder Pleocyemata (includes crabs, lobsters, crayfish and others)....more


The nephropidae family consists of 11 genera and 24 species. Found on rocky or sandy areas, from reefs to the continental shelf. Lobsters moult in order to grow....more

Hermit Crab

Hermit crabs have five pairs of legs, the first pair normally being claws. It has a soft abdomen into which its entire body can retract. Some camouflage their shells by using sponges or anemones....more

Mantis Shrimp

Stomatopoda order consists of 19 families and 120 genera. Hides in burrows. Hunts prey by spearing or smashing their shells....more


Dendrobranchiata sub order consists of 7 families and 26 genera. Shrimps are also part of this sub order. The name means ‘tree gills’. Nocturnal feeders....more