Abstract Paralytic toxicity was detected by tetrodotoxin (TTX) bioassay in 41 specimens of four species of coral reef crabs collected from Kenting National Park, southern Taiwan from January 2003 to March 2004. The frequency of toxicity in Zosimus aeneus, Xanthias lividus, Actaeodes tomentosus (Xanthidae family) and Camposcia retusa (Majidae family) specimens was 93.3%, 100%, 46.7% and 66.7%, respectively. The average toxicity of crab specimens was 483 ± 225 (mean ± SD) mouse units (MU) for Z. aeneus, 51 ± 32 MU for X. lividus, 6 ± 5 MU for A. tomentosus, and 18 ± 11 MU for C. retusa. Each toxin of four species of crabs was extracted with acidic methanol, cleansed using a C18 solid-phase extraction column, filtered through a microcentrifuge filter and analyzed by HPLC, LC-MS and GC-MS. The toxins of Z. aeneus and X. lividus contained TTX (90%) and a small amount of gonyautoxins (10%), whereas those of A. tomentosus and C. retusa all mainly contained TTX, but no paralytic shellfish poison. Except for Z. aeneus and X. lividus, two species A. tomentosus and C. retusa were first recorded as toxic in Taiwan.