European Green Crab (Carcinus maenas)
European green crabs pose a threat to Puget Sound’s thriving shellfish industry. Luckily, they;re not in the Sound quite yet. However, studies predict that a small breeding population of these green crabs in estuaries in Oregon, Washington, B.C., and even Southeast Alaska will continue to produce a supply of crab larvae through 2012.
These larvae will continue to put Puget Sound at risk.
What do they look like?
European green crabs are native to Europe, as their name implies. These shore-dwelling crabs grow up to 3 inches across the carapace. The common name for this species is misleading, their color varies widely from dark green to light yellow.
What is the issue?
Small but mighty, these type of crabs are voracious foragers and can easily open bivalve shellfish such as claims, oysters, and mussels.
Green crabs prey on Dungeness crabs of the same size or smaller. Because of this, the two species both live in intertidal areas, green crabs may reduce populations of small juvenile Dungeness by preying on them.
How to prevent European green crabs from establishing?
Preventing green crabs from establishing in the first place is the most effective way to lessen the potential adverse effects that these crabs could have on Dungeness crab populations.