“Blue swimmer crab invasion likely more extensive” – Prof. Deidun

Facebook - Alan Deidun

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

Fifteen blue swimmer crab, Portunus segnis were caught by a fisherman. The group consists of twelves male and three female crabs. Two of the female crabs are carrying hundred of crabs.

The crabs were caught within a couple of days a call for live crabs was issued by Associate Professor and Marine Biologist Alan Deidun on his Facebook profile. Currently the University of Malta is carrying out research on marine alien species.

The blue swimmer crab is a native of the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf, however it was observed in local waters where it has recently expanded greatly.

In a fresh post, Professor Alan Deidun observed that the invasion is more extensive than what was initially predicted. The catch will help the researchers shed more light on the actual impact the blue swimmer crab has on native marine ecosystems.

The blue swimmer crab is relatively large in size, and can be eaten. In some parts of the Mediterranean the crab is exploited commercially and also fished in harbours.

What is an invasive alien species?

An invasive alien species are animals, plants, pathogens and other organisms that are introduced to new habitats or ecosystems that are outside of their naturally occurring range.

Invasive alien species can have a negative impact on their new environment.

If the invasive alien species find enough food and other ideal conditions it might grow and spread, outcompeting and sometimes even replacing native and endemic species.