Sunday, July 24, 2022

Green Crabs Galore!

Camp Harbor view staff had another great week! This week we met our new campers! This group of kids is much more engaged than our last group which makes this job even more fun! We caught some very cool things this week and started a new game with our campers; let me tell you about it! At the beginning of the week, a camper caught a skate, which was excellent and all of the kids were so excited and interested in learning about it. The next day when we pulled up our crab trap we were surprised to have caught a black sea bass which we were able to hold in our touch tank for one group of campers to see before releasing him. Throughout the week we also caught many green crabs as well as a few jonah and rock crabs. As well we have started to race crabs with our campers at the end of their sessions which has been a huge hit and everyone has been talking about it around the camp! One thing I talked about with my group that would be an interesting thing to do is to record how many female crabs we catch each day compared to how many males! I have noticed a lot more females than males at our site and it would be super interesting to know why females may dominate the area! Now that I recapped you on the week, I want to tell you more about two species we caught: skates and green crabs.

The skate is a very close relative to a shark and looks almost exactly like a stingray without the barb. Skates are native to this area and are found anywhere from tropical to near arctic waters. They can be found in shallow waters to waters as deep as 8,900 feet deep.  The skate is a cartilaginous fish, like the shark, meaning that their skeletons are made of cartilage much like our ears. Most skates grow to be around 3 feet and typically weigh around 7-10 pounds. They feed on mollusks and crustaceans. One fun fact about this animal is that they lay their eggs in a case which is then hatched to introduce a live young skate. You have probably seen those egg cases on the beach and they are referred to as mermaid purses!

Green crabs are our most common catch at camp harbor view. As you may know, the green crab is an invasive species to this area. That means that they are not originally from here and have come to this area via ballast ships. They have taken over and outcompete the native species. Invasive species are so hard to control because they have no natural predators here. The green crab lives off a diet of worms, clams, and small crustaceans. They are originally from Europe but have now spread populations all over the world. Their habitat is composed of softbottom habitats such as sandy or muddy areas. Green crabs are fairly small and can fit on the palm of your hand! One fun fact about the green crab is that you can identify them by counting the points on their shell! They have 5 points that can spell out Green!

Overall we had another great week at camp harbor view and learned more about our native and invasive species and their relationship to the world around them! 

See you next week for another adventure on the sea
This is me explaining invasive species to a camper!

Camp Harbor View Campers participating in our new Crab race!
Camp Harbor View campers participating in our new crab races!

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