Introducing Crazylegs Codium!
This alien invader has so many names it's hard to keep track of! Its called Codium, Dead Man's Fingers, Sputnik Weed and Oyster Thief, and one of our favorite names is 'broccoli weed' because it looks similar to our favorite green vegetable! It is believed to have started out in Japan, but is now found from North America to Australia. In eastern Canada, it was first reported in Lunenburg in 1989 and since then, has spread along the shores of Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Prince Edward Island. Codium takes over communities of a local seaweed called kelp, so the kelp cannot grow back. Because Codium is so bushy, fish and lobsters find it difficult to move through it to find food. So far, there have been no sightings of Codium in Cape Breton — and biologists have their own fingers crossed in hopes that it doesn't invade!
What does Crazylegs Codium look like?
- Colour is pale to dark green
- Branching seaweed that splits into new branches as it grows, giving it a bush-like appearance
- Branches are cylindrical or tubular in shape, and look like fingers
- The long hairs on the fronds give it a soft, fuzzy feel when submerged, however, branches become coarse when washed up on shore
- Can grow to a length of more than one metre
- When washed up on the beach, it loses its green color and becomes pale ivory or white
- Crazylegs' legs aren't actually legs! They are referred to as a holdfast which is a structure that attaches Codium to the bottom