Brunswick, ME – October 8, 2019 – A Manomet scientist found the first recorded Smooth Mud Crab in Maine while doing research on quahog aquaculture last week. The Smooth Mud Crab, which has a native range from the Gulf of Mexico to Massachusetts’ Vineyard Sound, is commonly found in shallow coastal habitat and is known to prey upon juvenile oysters and other small invertebrates.
“After checking numerous sources, we believe this is the first recorded sighting of a Smooth Mud Crab in Maine,” said Dr. Marissa McMahan, Manomet’s Fisheries Division Director who found the crab in an oyster bag in the New Meadows River in West Bath, Maine. “The Smooth Mud Crab typically likes warmer waters than are found here. As the Gulf of Maine continues to warm, it’s important to be on the lookout for new emerging species, which could impact our shellfish ecosystems.”
“Compared to the crab species we would normally see in Maine, this crab has a very differently shaped abdomen, which gets narrow and then wider again,” said McMahan about how she identified the Smooth Mud Crab. “It also has much larger claw to body size ratio than the native and invasive crab species we have here. And it also has a two-tone coloration on its claws which is different from what we would typically see.”
Manomet works with fishermen, fishing communities, restaurants, seafood companies, seafood consumers and many others to find solutions that will sustain fisheries and balance economic, social, and environmental concerns. Adaptation to changing conditions will ensure a resilient marine ecosystem, sustainable fisheries, and a strong coastal economy. Manomet’s fisheries work focuses on restoring fish populations and diversifying opportunities in fishing and aquaculture.
Manomet is a nonprofit organization that believes people can live and work today in ways that will enable our world to thrive and prosper tomorrow. Manomet’s mission is to apply science and engage people to sustain our world. Visit www.manomet.org for more information.