Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Marine Invaders

A few weeks ago an invader to the Hudson River was captured and brought to Beczak. The suspect had a shell that was about 3 inches across along with hairy claws. It may sound like something out of a science fiction movie but it was actually a Chinese Mitten Crab. The mitten crab is not native to the Hudson River. It actually made its way here in the ballast water on trade boats traveling from China and Korea.
The mitten crab is considered to be an invasive species in the Hudson River. This means that it could potentially have a negative impact on the natural ecosystem of the Hudson. I say potentially because these impacts are not known. Mitten crabs have not yet fully established themselves in the Hudson River, but if they do they could compete with other native species for food. They are also known to destructively burrow into riverbanks which could affect things such as earthen dams. Because of these reasons, the DEC asks that anyone who finds a mitten crab dead or alive notify them. The crab that was found here in Yonkers was collected by the DEC for further testing. Hopefully we will learn more about what the mitten crab means to the future of the Hudson River.

Jason Muller
Educator/Technology Specialist