What the crab is that? Researchers ask public for help in tracking new arrival to NC coast

For immediate release ‐ October 10, 2023

Contact: Jon Pishney, 919.707.8083. Images available upon request

Blue land crab on a vehicle wheel.Blue land crab (Cardisoma guanhumi) on a vehicle wheel. Photo: Delilah O’Leary.

A non-native land crab that dwarfs the state’s native crab species has been spotted at the North Carolina coast. Now officials want the public’s help in tracking its impacts.

Now researchers, teaming up with fellow scientists in South Carolina, want the public’s help to find out if a crab native to warmer climates thousands of miles south of North Carolina will become a permanent member of the Tar Heel State’s environment.

“If you see one, you know it’s something different,” said Dr. Bronwyn Williams, research curator with the N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences, about the blue land crab.

First and foremost, the crab dwarfs its smaller cousin. The blue land crab’s main shell can be up to 6 inches in diameter, with the animal’s walking legs and claws easily doubling the crab’s size beyond its softball-sized carapace.

Then there’s that main claw.

“That claw is very impressive,” Williams said, “and they will defend themselves with it, so this crab is certainly something you want to approach with a degree of caution.”

Read the full article in the Star News online

Report a blue land crab sighting on the Eastern Seaboard.

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