Wednesday, September 19, 2007

A Man, A Crab, A Canal: Panama

EurekAlert! is reporting that the Harris mud crab (Rhithropanopeus harrisii) has definitely arrived in the Panama Canal. Researchers have discovered breeding populations of the invasive crab, native to the Atlantic coast of the US, in Miraflores Third Lock Lake. The lake has actually been separated from the canal system for decades, but is now scheduled to be reconnected as part of an expansion project. Now it's up to those researchers to determine just how widespread the crab is within the canal system.

The Harris mud crab is already quite widespread in Europe, and can be found in Russia as well. With all the concern about green crabs, Asian shore crabs, and the Chinese mitten crab invading the Atlantic coast of the US (check out all of the ISW articles on crabs), it is interesting to see a species native to that region becoming invasive in other parts of the world.

This is the very first mention of Panama in five years of posts at the Invasive Species Weblog. It's about time, Panama! :-)


Anonymous said...

Everything, everywhere.
In the face of climate change, any species that can survive in a region will be, essentially, native.
If you love a species, move it to where it will survive.

Jennifer Forman Orth said...

What about the species humans don't love...and the ones that won't get along with the ones humans decide to love? Sounds like a bigger mess to me.

Anonymous said...

Clearly so. How could humans possibly be wise enough to deduce or decide what lives, and what does not, when we've unconciously done so much to see that nothing at all lives, save the scavengers on our waste?
If all life is One on this biosphere, and I have to think it is, then everything has the same right to survival. Given the interconnectedness of life, there's really no way to choose, we can only tinker at the borders, like sowing acorns where the spruce are dying off, or like keeping knotweed in some semblance of balance. But if the knotweed is capable of taking over, in time it'll form symbiotic relationships with natives and other invaders, or the lathe of heaven will deal with it's monoculture in some other way.
I too hate to see these aggressive invaders.
But in the face of the climate changes we have unleashed, anything capable of survival has value, in the unknown climate once the Anthropocene arrives.