Here's another invasive species being found in New York State waterways that you may not be aware of, or ever heard of.

This species has found its way into the Empire State's waterways via East Asia. It's called a Mitten Crab (Eriocheir sinensis.)

According to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, so far, the Mitten Crab has been spotted in the Hudson River and Long Island Sound.

The NYS DEC notes that these invasive species move between brackish and marine waters. They potentially could disrupt local ecosystems by out-competing native marine life, and among other issues, the Mitten Crab can interfere with commercial and recreational fisheries, stealing bait and damaging fishing gear and catch.
So, how do you know if you are looking at a Mitten Crab? The adults have “furry” claws that look a bit like mittens (hence the name), but the juveniles may lack the mitten, so look for a notch on the carapace between the eyes and four small lateral spines on each side of the carapace for additional identification markers.

Other ways to identify a Mitten Crab according to the NYS DEC include:

  • Claws of equal size with white tips and dense patches of brown setae that look like hairy mittens (mittens present in adults and juveniles with carapace (shell) width > 1 in)
  • Carapace (shell) up to 4 inches wide with four lateral spines on each side (4th spine is smaller)
  • The notch between the eyes
  • Light brown to olive color
  • Eight sharp pointed walking legs approximately twice as long as the carapace (shell) width; no swimming legs
If you spot a Mitten Crab in New York State waters, the NYS DEC would like you to, remove it, and freeze it. That's right...freeze it to kill it. Take photos, note the location where you found the Mittem Crab, and email that information to the Bureau of Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health.
Reporting these observations will help the NYS DEC continue its efforts to protect New York State's ecosystems. Just a reminder: never release any non-native animal or plant into the wild.
Check out the video below for photos and for more information, visit the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.

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