Introducing 'Mittzi' the Chinese Mitten Crab!
No, it isn't wearing tiny mittens — those are actually its hairy claws!
This unique-looking crab is originally from China, but moved into Europe, where it quickly grew in large numbers. It has been spotted in a few areas of the United States, but so far there is only one successful population in San Francisco. They have been spotted on the east coast, in Chesapeake Bay, Maryland, and the Hudson River, New York.
When these crabs invade, they can out-compete and even eat the local crab species! Their large burrowing colonies can also cause major damage to stream banks.
As of right now, the mitten crab has not been spotted in Nova Scotia, but with a growing number of single crabs popping up along the Atlantic coast, biologists are worried we may be next! Yikes!
What does Mittzi the Chinese Mitten Crab look like?
- Light brown, hairy claws with white tips — which makes the crab look like it's wearing mittens!
- Light brown to olive-green in colour
- Smooth, round shell with length up to 10 cm
- 4 triangular teeth on each side of shell
- Notch between eyes
- Legs about twice the length of the shell width