The unusual crustacean was found off the coast of southern Taiwan. It has a dramatic bright red shell covered with small white bumps.
Professor Ho Ping-ho from the National Taiwan Ocean University said the crab resembles a species called Neoliomera Pubescens, that lives in the areas around Hawaii, Polynesia and Mauritius.
However it has a clam-shaped shell about 1 inch wide, which makes it distinct.
Crabs are omnivores feeding primarily on algae. There are more than 5,000 known species in the world.
Professor Ho said his team found two female crabs of the new species last June off the coast of Kenting National Park, known for its rich marine life.
The crabs died shortly afterwards, possibly because the water in the area was polluted by a cargo ship that ran aground.
Taiwanese crab specialist Wang Chia-hsiang confirmed Professor Ho’s finding.