Furry-clawed Asian crabs found in Delaware and Chesapeake Bays

June 04, 2007

Chinese mitten crabs, first reported in the Chesapeake Bay, are more widespread than initially thought. Four crabs have now been caught in Delaware Bay during the last week of May 2007, and may occur in other waters of the U.S. east coast.

In total, seven adult male mitten crabs have been documented from the two bays since 2005. Prior to this, the potentially invasive species had never been recorded from coastal waters of the eastern United States.

The mitten crab is native to eastern Asia and has already invaded Europe and the western United States, where it has established reproductive populations. The crab occurs in both freshwater and saltwater. Young crabs spend their lives in freshwater and migrate to saltwater estuaries for reproduction.

Named for the unusual thick fur-like coating on its claws, the mitten crab looks very different than native crabs and is easily recognized. It is listed as injurious wildlife under the Federal Lacey Act, due to its potential to cause ecological and economic damage.

"We don't know the present status of this crab along the eastern U.S. coast" said Gregory Ruiz, senior scientist at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center. "At the moment, it is not clear whether these crabs are reproducing or established in the Mid-Atlantic region, or whether the captured crabs are just a few individuals that originated elsewhere." These crabs may have arrived in the ballast water of ships or through live trade.
-end-
A Mitten Crab Network has been established to examine the abundance, distribution, and reproductive status of crabs in Chesapeake Bay, Delaware Bay and other estuaries along the eastern United States. The initial partnership between the Smithsonian lab, Maryland Department of Natural Resources, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and Delaware Division of Fish and Wildlife, is now being expanded to include resource managers, commercial fishermen, research organizations and citizens along the east coast.

Anyone seeing a mitten crab is asked to take a close-up photograph if possible, and please report it directly to the Mitten Crab Network (443-482-2222; SERCMittenCrab@si.edu) or a state resource manager.

Smithsonian

Related Freshwater Articles from Brightsurf:

14 recommendations for the protection of freshwater biodiversity beyond 2020
Worldwide, the conservation of biodiversity remains a major challenge -- this applies particularly to freshwater ecosystems which so far are not sufficiently taken into account in political processes and regulations.

The Marangoni Effect can be used to obtain freshwater from the sea
A study conducted at the Politecnico di Torino, in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and published in the journal Energy and Environmental Science, presents a solar desalination device capable of spontaneously removing the accumulated salt.

Integrated terrestrial-freshwater planning doubles tropical freshwater conservation
Freshwater species are sometimes considered an afterthought in conservation planning, which typically prioritizes terrestrial ecosystems and their inhabitants.

Freshwater biology: Turtle scavenging critical to freshwater ecosystem health
Freshwater turtles may have a role in regulating water quality in river systems by scavenging fish carcasses, suggests a study of Emydura macquarii, a vulnerable freshwater turtle species found in Australia.

Scientists map freshwater transport in the Arctic Ocean
The Ob, Yenisei, and Lena rivers flow into the Kara and Laptev seas and account for about half of the total freshwater runoff to the Arctic Ocean.

New species of freshwater Crustacea found in the hottest place on earth
A new species of freshwater Crustacea has been discovered during an expedition of the desert Lut, known as the hottest place on Earth.

Regional variations in freshwater overconsumption
Freshwater -- which falls to the earth as precipitation or exists beneath the surface as groundwater -- is desperately needed to sustain people, plants and animals.

Common sunscreen ingredients prove dangerous for freshwater ecosystems
The results show that long-term exposure to ultraviolet (UV) filters--including avobenzone, oxybenzone, and octocrylene--is lethal for some organisms living in freshwater environments.

Increasing Arctic freshwater is driven by climate change
New, first-of-its-kind research from the University of Colorado Boulder shows that climate change is driving increasing amounts of freshwater in the Arctic Ocean.

Chinook salmon declines related to changes in freshwater conditions
A new University of Alaska-led study provides the first evidence that declines in many of Alaska's chinook salmon populations can be attributed in part to climate-driven changes in their freshwater habitats.

Read More: Freshwater News and Freshwater Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.