The Chinese Mitten Crab (Eriocheir sinensis), originally a native of East Asia, quickly invaded the European coastline as well as the western coast of the US. Now it looks as if their pincher movement to invade the US is complete. Within the last week The Marine Invasions Research Lab, Maryland, has reported that the Chinese Mitten Crab has invaded two locations in New Jersey. In addition they’re also reporting new sightings of the crab along New York’s Hudson River.
The spread of the Chinese Mitten Crab in the eastern US are as follows. In 2005 live adult crabs were discovered in Chesapeake Bay and a population has steadily persisted ever since. In 2007 specimens were recorded in Delaware Bay and the Hudson River. Now in 2008 repeated recording in the Hudson River has shown a range expansion. In addition new adults have been discovered in New Jersey. To date, 19 adults have been confirmed as definite sightings by scientists in the eastern US, across four states over the past four years, allowing them to be confirmed as established invaders.
For more details on the Chinese Mitten Crab a search of CAB Abstracts using the following terms “Chinese Mitten Crab” or “Eriocheir sinensis” resulted in 200+ records. One of these records has been made freely available here for non-subscribers.
UPDATE: After being asked a few questions on the transportation/migration of the Chinese Mitten Crab I thought it only right that I should add the following to the article:
In China the Mitten Crab can travel between 1000 and 1500 km a week along watercourses against the current. However greater distances are achieved when they hitch a ride on boats and ships. The Mitten Crab crossed the oceans to Europe and America in ballast water (the water that is pumped into ships to stabilse the vessel). In 1912, a large male mitten crab was discovered in a German river. During the 1920s and 1930s the Mitten Crabs
flourished, spreading throughout Europe. It is now spreading its way up the River Thames. First discovered in 1935 (Lots Road Power Station, Chelsea) it has only reached as far a Staines (63km). The Natural History Museum is continuing its monitoring programme.