The Chinese mitten crab, Eriocheir sinensis (also known as
the big sluice crab and Shanghai hairy crab) is a medium-sized burrowing crab that
is native in the coastal estuaries of eastern Asia from Korea in the north to
the Fujian province of China in the south.
The crab is a famous delicacy in Shanghai cuisine and is
prized for the female crab roe. The crab meat is believed by the Chinese to have
a "cooling" (yin) effect on the body.
The mitten crabs had exhibited a remarkable ability to survive in highly
modified aquatic habitats, including polluted waters. Like certain fish,
they can also easily tolerate and uptake heavy metals, such as cadmium and
mercury. Therefore, the farming and post-harvesting of the species needs proper
management if it is used as a food.