Mating behaviour of the leucosiid crab Pyrhila pisum was studied in the laboratory and tidal flats in Japan. Most males actively approached females. Males started guarding females without any courtship behaviour (pre-copulatory guarding). Males began copulation within several minutes. The copulation continued for about 1–2 h, following which males began post-copulatory guarding. This guarding lasted from almost 0 to over 3 days, but its duration was generally much longer than that prior to copulation. Release of guarding was not linked to ovulation by females. Long-term rearing experiments revealed that both sexes of P. pisum could copulate multiple times with various mates. Developmental stages of the embryos recorded from copulating ovigerous females widely varied; their timing of copulation may not be fixed. In the tidal flat, wandering males frequently contacted with other individuals, but without distinguishing single males, single females and pairs of P. pisum, or Hemigrapsus takanoi. Male P. pisum cannot recognize female conspecifics, and they approach their mates relying only on vision, without using any attractive cues from females. In cases in which males encountered pairing crabs, they successfully stole the females when the guardians were smaller than the challengers, suggesting that effectiveness of guarding depends on male size. Among the mating pairs, males tended to be larger than females, and the tendency of size-assortative mating was weak or absent. Therefore, the mating behaviour of P. pisum is not elaborate, although their guarding behaviour may contribute to improve success to some degree.