Strong claws may help explain population growth of non-native Hemigrapsus Sanguineus and decline of resident crabs in western Long Island Sound.
10th Biennial Long Island Research Conference, Stamford, CT (Oct 30, 31). Abstract
Hemigrapsus sanguineus arrived in western Long Island Sound ca. 1993. This crab is an ecological invader that has become an important player in the intertidal ecology of low energy sites in the northeast U.S. (Gerard et al., 1999; Lohrer & Whitlatch, 2002; Kraemer et al., 2007). Claw morphology and crushing force determine the outcome of agonistic encounters between crabs. A large crushing force may also provide access to a greater range of prey.
The objectives of this study were to measure the strength and morphology of claws of co-occurring crabs at a western Long Island Sound (NY) site. The claw strength of male and female Hemigrapsus sanguineus were compared. Ontogenetic changes in claw strength of
Hemigrapsus sanguineus were also evaluated. No native crabs were capture to compare with H. sanguineus. However, measurements of five green crabs (Carcinus maenas) demonstrated that size-normalized strength of the invader was greater that than of C. maenas.