'Chinese crabs with mysterious claws' sweep New York 'Chinese crabs with mysterious claws' sweep New York

'Chinese crabs with mysterious claws' sweep New York

'Chinese crabs with mysterious claws' sweep New York
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The New York Department of Environmental Conservation (NYDEC) has issued a warning about the mitten crab, known for its fuzzy, furry claws, spreading throughout the state.

The crab has been seen along the Hudson and Nessekogo rivers and Long Island Sound, following previous reports of its spread in San Francisco, the Chesapeake Bay and even the Thames River in London.

Marine scientists have also raised concerns about the creature's impact on many endangered native species.

“These crabs move between brackish and marine waters, and have the ability to disrupt local ecosystems by outcompeting competing local marine life,” the conservationists said.

NYDEC described the Chinese mitten crab (Eriocheir sinensis), native to East Asia, as a "generalist predator" capable of altering entire food webs because it "feeds on the eggs of native fish and invertebrates."

The burrowing techniques used by crabs can lead to riverbank instability and increased erosion, which in turn increases flood risk and reduces habitat.

Chinese cichlids start their lives small, and their claws do not develop until adulthood.
The claws contain dense patches of brown bristles that give mitten crabs their name.

New York State conservation authorities have advised that if a mitten crab is spotted, it should be caught, photographed and then frozen for later analysis.

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