Friday, September 08, 2006

The most delicious invasion this Fall

I admit it. I've been rather obsessed with the crab news. Bioinvaders are nothing new. Here in Michigan we've dealt with old pals like lampreys who quickly made themselves at home in our freshwater bastion when the St. Lawrence Seaway was completed. On their heels (or rather, in the hulls of boats) came the zebra mussels. I won't even get into the issues surrounding the Emerald Ash Borer Beetle, that's a whole other enchilada I'll serve to you in the future. Both have multiplied to high levels with no natural predators and no viable economic contribution. I hear lamprey isn't the best eatin' and for all the algal filtration that might be attributed to zebra mussels, they squeeze out the natives and permanently change the ecological landscape due to anthropogenic impact. The latest news on bioinvasion our regional area is the events of the somewhat perverse Redneck Carp Tournament. Details of the actual event are pretty hilarious, such as using one's face to catch ten pounder fish.

The Dungeness crab (with the delightful Latin name of Cancer magister) is a voracious and practically an omnivorous eater, which could spell serious threats for all sorts of fauna in the Atlantic ocean. Apparently only males are caught for food so the fact this fugitive was one of my boys at least leaves the possibility that this lone crab just escaped a restaurant or was released by humans too full to eat another.

I love the crabs and crustaceans in general. Their hulking, armored bodies coupled with their ponderous walk has always delighted me. I spent a good part of last year watching The Deadliest Catch, and on an upcoming trip out to the West Coast I plan to sample as much multi-legged animals as is served on my plate.

Is it time to panic that we have another bioinvasion on our hands? Probably not, but given our track record, it's bad news, Scrapper. By the time we find conspicuous evidence of the invaders, they're everywhere.

1 comment:

Finback said...

If you want a cool Latin name for a crustacean? The Australian freshwater crayfish known as the "yabbie" gets _Cherax destructor_.