Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Reprieve for Devil Crabs?

During the last three winters we have been witnessing, during cold weather, the death of large numbers of Velvet Swimming Crabs often called Devil Crabs because of their red eyes.

Volunteer Coastal Wardens from the Thanet Coast Project have been braving the cold over the last two weeks checking our shores and bays for any casualties due to the cold weather. To date non have been reported.

This is a relief as populations of this specie had taken a real hammering in previous years.

There are a number of theories why we have not seen this devastation this year. It may be that the tidal conditions were not the same as previous years. This year the cold weather did not coincide with spring tides and therefore the low water mark did not reach the feeding areas normally frequented by these crabs. It may be that the population has not re-established itself yet following previous disastrous years or maybe they have just become wise and stayed in deeper water where they are less likely to be affected by changes in temperature.

Whatever the reasons Coastal Wardens will be continue to monitor our bays for any future incidents.

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