Champion Fighter Crabs

Biological Invasions 9, 837-848 (2007)

Some invasive species, such as the European green crab, Carcinus maenas, are able to invade new environments because of brute strength.  In a study conducted by a team of researchers from Rutgers University and Bloomfield College, C. maenas was tested to see how it fared in physical competition with other crab species.

Upon comparing the feeding habits and defensive and agnostic behaviors of C. maenas, another invasive species of crab, and the native blue crab, researchers found that, in addition to finding and consuming food more quickly than either other species, C. maenas is able to steal food from other crabs. It is also more likely to win fights, regardless of the initiator.  Exceptions to these observations may be seen in the European green crab’s interactions with adult blue crab, the only group of crab possessing stronger carapaces than those of C. maenas. Established populations of adult blue crab may be able to contain the threat of C. maenas invasion.

2 Responses to “Champion Fighter Crabs”

  1.   ejr9 Says:

    I think it’s really interesting that this crab actually steals food from other crabs. When discussing invasive species and their ability to outcompete native species for resources, people usually do not picture the invasive species literally, physically taking food from its competitors. I like how you described the trait that enables them to invade an area as “brute strength;” that’s a funny way to describe it and immediately hooks the reader right from the first sentence. This research highlight engages the reader and leaves them with the desire to know more about this species and the details about how it is able to physically outcompete other species.

  2.   clr26 Says:

    I love it when animals are personified – it gives readers a completely new way to perceive things. The fact that these crabs have little personalities of their own and exhibit more human-like traits is really interesting, and it puts more meaning in the phrase “invasive species”. It also makes them seem like they are really TRYING to invade, not that they are just acting on instinct. Many species invade because of accidental human transportation, but these crabs seem to have thoughts of their own.