Canadian crabs with bad attitude threaten coastal ecosystem

ABC News | 9/18/2018 | Staff
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Canadians are known as friendly folks, but these crabby brutes migrating from Canadian waters are better suited for the hockey rink.

Green crabs from Nova Scotia are the same species as their cousins that already inhabit Maine waters, but are ornerier and angrier, threatening to accelerate harm to the coastal ecosystem by gobbling up soft-shell clams and destroying native eel grass, a researcher said.

Docile - Crabs - Shrink - Threat - Newcomers

The docile green crabs shrink from a threat, while the newcomers are more apt to wave their pincers and charge.

"What we're seeing is this insane level of aggressiveness," said Markus Frederich, a professor at the University of New England.

They're each genetically distinct.

The new crab variant that originated in northern Europe is hardier and adapted to colder water than the more docile crab, which originally came from southern Europe.

Crabs - Docile - Ones - Scourge - Soft-shell

Green crabs, even the docile ones, are considered a scourge that can devour soft-shell and juvenile clams. They can destroy eelgrass that provides a hiding place for juvenile sea creatures.

But the Canadian crabs take it to a new level.

Louis - Logan - University - New - England

Louis Logan, a University of New England graduate student, had the unpleasant task of labeling the crabs captured from Nova Scotia waters for the research.

The crabs were in no mood for games.

Distance - Feet - Brutes - Inches - Posture

At a distance of 5 feet, the pint-sized brutes, which measure 4 to 5 inches across, assumed a fighting posture. Those that grabbed him were in no hurry to let go.

"Any time I went down to grab one they went to grab me instead," he wrote in an email.

One of them, in particular,...
(Excerpt) Read more at: ABC News
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