WORKSTATION

CHINESE
MITTEN CRAB

Eriocheir sinensis

kartes-simbols_fauna

Engure lake Nature Park, Mērsrags
57.344505, 23.124840

Chinese mitten crab (Eriocheir sinensis) became established in Europe possibly through the ballast waters of ships sailing from Central Asia to Europe. It is assumed that the specimens caught in the Baltic Sea region have come here by actively migrating from the North Sea or from the rivers flowing into it. The Chinese mitten crab poses a threat to Latvia’s nature by contributing to the decline of nature invertebrate species and it can also negatively affect commercial and recreational fisheries by catching onto the nets and damaging or eating the fish caught there.

Description
One of the main distinguishing characteristics is the thick hair on the claws. A distinct square-shaped shell. The width of the crab’s body reaches 5-7 cm, in some cases even 10 cm. The colour can range from yellow to brown, less often – a reddish colour.

Manner of introduction
Possibly introduced in Europe with the ballast waters of ships travelling from central Asia. It is assumed that the specimens in the Baltic Sea region have migrated from the North Sea or via the rivers flowing into it.

Characteristics of preferred habitat
Found in the largest rivers in Latvia – Daugava, Venta, Lielupe, in the surrounding lakes of Engure, Ķīšezers, in the Gulf of Rīga and in Latvia’s territory of the shores of the Baltic Sea.

Familiarize yourself with invasive species and submit your observations to: “Invazīvo sugu pārvaldnieks”.

Source: “Invazīvo sugu pārvaldnieks”, Nature Conservation Agency

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