OLD LYME, CT (WFSB) – The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection has put out an alert about an invasive crab that is potentially destructive to riverbanks.
The Chinese Mitten Crab looks like a giant spider that is greenish-brown in color with a pair of white-tipped claws and appears to be covered with hair.
Marine biologist Dick Harris found 13 of the crabs this spring, which is up four from last year, as he was checking seven harbors between Fairfield and New Haven counties.
The most recent discovery was made in the Housatonic River between Stratford and Milford.
The problem is each pregnant female can drop between 25,000 and 30,000 eggs. The as crabs mature, they burrow into the soft mud banks of the estuaries.
“The damage comes if you have too many crabs, they can turn the banks into jelly,” Harris said.
That’s why DEEP is putting out an alert to fisherman and others that if they see the unique looking crabs to contact DEEP.
“They cause a lot of erosion I believe, and they can cause riverbanks to collapse,” said Valinn Ranelli, Old Lyme fisherman.
CT DEEP marine biologist David Molnar says the mitten crab has been migrating east since it was first spotted in the Hudson in 2007. They mate, reproduce, lay their eggs and die while their larvae begin the cycle upstream in fresh water.
“They spend most of their life, three to five years, in fresh water, they mature, go out to see,” Molnar said.
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