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“One crab – one euro”
05-07-2022

In order to spread the word about the exotic species of crabs and involve local residents and visitors to the seacoast in scientific research, the scientists of the Marine Research Institute of Klaipėda University are announcing a campaign: find a crab and contribute to the research of non-indigenous species in Lithuania! The start of crab hunting is announced on July 6.

You can recognize a Chinese mitten crab (Lat. Eriocheir sinensis)  by the hairy white-tipped front claws. Their size can reach up to 10 cm, the colour is dark brown or brown-green, and the body is square.

The question arises, what is so special about this crab? Why should it be of interest to coastal residents? Due to its complex life cycle, the crab can affect both freshwater and marine ecosystems. It begins life as a larva hatched in the salty sea, and as it grows, it swims away in search of increasingly fresh waters. In this way, crabs migrate hundreds or even thousands of kilometers from the sea to the heads of rivers or lakes. Their way of life is also interesting: to hide, they dig caves in the bottom sediments of water bodies or occupy the habitats of other species, thus competing with them not only for food, but also for a place under the sun. Crabs and their juveniles or larvae are found in the ballast water of ships or may be brought as food for restaurants or supermarkets.

This crab is an interesting specimen for the studies of non-native species in Lithuania, because there have not yet been detailed studies that would allow a good understanding of exactly how Chinese mitten crabs mate and feed in our coastal waters and what influence they have on local species and habitats. In Lithuania, these crabs are regularly found in the littoral zone of the Baltic Sea, and therefore Klaipėda University, in cooperation with other institutions and fishermen, tirelessly collect new crustaceans for research.

Crabs can be found both in the sea and in fresh water. If you spot a crab – on the coast or anywhere else – carefully pick it up and put it in an airtight container, bag or box. If possible, store in a cold or cool place and contact us: Facebook page Crab hunting; tel.: +37063722054; e-mail: palubinskaite.m@gmail.com or greta.srebaliene@apc.ku.lt.