Chinese Mitten Crab Invasion
Have you seen one? Will you report it?
Become a nature detective and record the invasion of the alien Chinese mitten crab (Eriocheir sinensis) in rivers of England and Wales.
Scientists from a number of UK research institutes, including London's Natural History Museum are calling for the public to become nature detectives this autumn to better understand the full extent of the Chinese mitten crab invasion and the threat these crustaceans pose to our rivers and waterways. Anglers, waterway workers, boating enthusiasts and other nature lovers to identify and record any sightings of the alien species via an online survey. The recordings will be used by scientists to clarify the full distribution of the exotic crabs in English and Welsh rivers.
Chinese mitten crabs are now one of the most notorious aquatic invasive species featuring in the international list of the world’s 100 worst invasive species. They are regarded as a pest because they cause damage to fishing gear and unprotected river banks, block water systems as well as compete with native species for food and habitat.
Current records show that mitten crabs have established populations in the Thames, Medway, Ouse Washes, Humber and the Dee Estuary. Sightings from all rivers and watersheds will be useful but researchers are particularly interested in any from:
Nature lovers can report their finds by phone, email or online and upload their photographs by visiting www.mittencrabs.org.uk.