Manual Killer Crabs

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Beware of killer crabs! |

Killer Crabs : The Return. Amongst the fatalities was Harvey Logan, big-game hunter.


The world believed that these terrible crustaceans had been annihilated but Harvey's son, Brock, was sure that one day they would emerge from the oceans once more on a rampage of bloody carnage. Brock was also a hunter and he waited patiently for three decades.

Killer Crabs by Smith

He wanted revenge as well as a Crab trophy for his collection. Then the crabs returned, this time on the Solway Firth and Brock's hunt began.

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Rating details. Book ratings by Goodreads. Goodreads is the world's largest site for readers with over 50 million reviews. We're featuring millions of their reader ratings on our book pages to help you find your new favourite book. The team is also trying to assess how long afflicted crabs take to die, and how the virus spreads from one crab to another. If they can figure out answers, they hope to save watermen the frustration and expense of losing valuable animals.

The researchers so far have learned that the virus is present in 80 percent of crabs that die in shedding operations in Virginia.

Some suspect that temperature stresses the crabs, though Schott said degree swings in the Chesapeake Bay from water to tank have not affected mortality. Other possible factors: crowding in shedding tanks, or too much nitrogen in the water or not enough oxygen.

While crabs can survive wide temperature swings, bacteria increase when the mercury rises. He said he believes that this could be a major factor in their demise. The bacteria and viruses work in concert, but the bacteria might get them before the virus does.

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There are a lot of things that can kill a crab, he said. Schott, in a joint bid with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center , has tried to get funding for a crab tagging study that would track the virus in the wild. If Schott and his team can determine what is causing the virus, they can advise crabbers how to prevent it. Others use trotlines or pots to catch hard crabs, but keep any peelers they pick up.

Himmelman monitors the test crabs at six-hour intervals. On that warm July day, Schott worked with graduate student Matt Spitznagel and intern Nathaniel Alper to sample blood from more than crabs.

Killer Crabs!

What the team learns at Phillips Wharf will augment the work begun 10 years ago, when Schott first discovered the virus. After initially studying the problem in his lab, he found a partner with a soft-shell operation — Lee Carrion, who owns Coveside Crabs in Dundalk with her husband, Richard Young. Carrion, a former teacher with a degree in biology, was seeing 80 percent mortality in her shedding operation when she met Schott.

Since then, his findings have helped reduce her losses almost to zero. The water quality is better in the open Bay, with more oxygen and less nitrogen than in the cove. The system streams the water through discarded oyster shells, which are used as a biofilter to remove nitrogen. Carrion and Young also revised their harvest methods, taking only peelers with a telltale red or pink dot on their swimming fins.