Tuesday, 24 July 2007

Chinese Crab Mittens

Due to the floods the UK is witnessing of late, from Woolwich to Windsor, London's riverside dwellers are coming under attack from crabs, or more specifically the Chinese Mitten Crab. Here's some interesting information about them:

  • It was given its name because its large claws covered by soft bristles resembles mittens. The crab's body is the size of a human palm.

  • The mitten crab is catadromous - adults reproduce in salt water and the offspring migrate to fresh water to rear. Once the crabs mate, the males are thought to die and they leave the females to brood the eggs.

  • The mitten crab can travel extraordinary distances. In China it migrates up to 1,500 kilometres along some rivers. They feed on small worms and juvenile shellfish.

  • In Asia, the Mitten Crab is considered a delicacy.

  • It was reported in the London Evening Standard in 1995 that the residents of Greenwich, UK, saw the Chinese mitten crabs coming out of the River Thames and moving towards the high street.

  • Scientists studying the furry-clawed crustacean, which is thought to have arrived from China as larvae in ballast water, now want people to eat the crabs into retreat. Really! Don't believe me? Check out this article published in the National Geographic.


Knit Nurse said...

According to the people at the Creekside Centre, the Chinese Mitten Crab has been a resident of Deptford Creek for some time. If you go on one of their low-tide walks, you will get to see hundreds of the crabs' casts floating in the water.

The Greenwich Gazette said...

To be honest with you I'd rather leave them there without seeing them or touching them. But from what I've learned is that the environment agencies are really apprehensive of their increasing numbers because they actually disturb marine life.
Long term effects are not yet known though.