Monday, November 13, 2006

If Only the Norwalk Maritime Aquarium Could Find a Suitable Recipe...

Asian shore crabs haven’t just invaded Long Island Sound, they’ve taken over. From the Times:

Long Island Sound and the New Jersey shoreline have become the epicenter of an invasion that began 18 years ago when Asian shore crabs first arrived here from the Western Pacific, most likely, scientists have said, in the ballast of a cargo ship. Since that first sighting at Cape May, N.J., in 1988, this aggressive crab — formally known as Hemigrapsus sanguineus — has spread from Maine to North Carolina. Along many coastal areas, including the Connecticut, Long Island and New Jersey shores, it has virtually eliminated other species of crab.

And this:

… in 1993, James Carlton, a Williams College professor, offered a hot fudge sundae to any of his undergraduate students at Mystic Seaport who could find one along the southeastern Connecticut coastline.

Ten years later, Mr. Carlton, director of the Williams-Mystic Maritime Studies Program, was offering sundaes to anyone who could find a crab other than the Asian shore variety.

At the other end of the Sound, in Rye, N.Y., George Kramer, chairman of the environmental studies program at SUNY College at Purchase, said that if he went out now and collected 1,000 crabs at his study site at the Edith G. Read Wildlife Sanctuary, “between 998 and 999” would be Asian shore crabs.


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