Journal of the Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom

Research Article

The Alien Chinese Mitten Crab, Eriocheir Sinensis (Crustacea: Decapoda: Brachyura), in the Thames Catchment

Paul F. Clarka1, Philip S. Rainbowa2, Roni S. Robbinsa1, Brian Smitha2, William E. Yeomansa3, Myles Thomasa4 and Gina Dobsona1

a1 The Natural History Museum, Cromwell Road, London, SW7 5BD.

a2 School of Biological Sciences, Queen Mary & Westfield College, University of London, London, El 4NS.

a3 Environment Agency, Biology Laboratory, Reading, RG2 OSF.

a4 Environment Agency, Apollo Court, 2 Bishops Square Business Park, St Albans Road West, Hatfield, Herts, AL10 9EX

Eriocheir sinensis, the Chinese mitten crab, is a native of east Asia and predominantly lives in freshwater but migrates seawards to breed. In 1912 a specimen was collected in the River Aller, a tributary of the Weser, Germany and now this exotic species has a European distribution from Finland to the Atlantic coast of southern France. In the UK, the mitten crab has been reported from the Humber, Medway and Thames catchments. Although the population in Thames had remained low, recent evidence suggests it is increasing, which has potential environmental implications.