UK aquatic life is facing some uncertain times nowadays. No, they are not worried about the economy, or housing, or how much a liter of petrol costs. Their concerns are much more immediate and hierarchical. Two predatory crustaceans–the Signal Crayfish and the Chinese Mitten Crab–are encroaching on each others territory and are about to meet for the first time. Scientists, biologists, ecologists, and myself are all very interested in what is about to happen.
The Stinger Crayfish is from North America and carries a disease that kills the UK indigenous white claw crayfish. The Stingers also burrow into baks, which has caused some loosening and instability. The Stingers are predators and will consume anything they can get their claws on, including other crustaceans.
The Mitten Crab is larger than the Stinger, and it’s a crab. It is agressive and violent, eats anything it can get its claws into, and has been ravaging the shallow waters of the UK. Its range has expanded and is now entering Stinger territory. It is expected that when the two species meet there will be a clash between them, as one tries to exert dominance over the other. They will be competing for land, food, and shelter, after all.
It is expected that the presence of the two species in one range can really mess things up for native life. These hunters will unbalance the system. possibly causing irreparable damage to local habitats and resulting in the extinction of some of the lower life forms and extensive damage to river and coastal banks.
I want to be there when these two meet. Or at least I want someone to videotape it and then post it on YouTube. This is Darwinism at its purest. Two species of the same class meeting in the wild to show the world which is better. Who wiill win?
The Stinger has large claws and a good reach. The Mitten Crab, though, with the eight legs will probably be too quick for the crayfush, and it too has large claws, even if they are covered in fur for some silly reason. Unless the Mitten Crab is vulnerable to the Stinger’s disease, I say the crab will win the fight. It’s quicker, has powerful claws, it’s viscious, mean, and opportunistic. And it’s from Asia, which means it knows Karate.
Man I can’t wait to see this fight.