Climate change sees giant crabs invade the Antarctic
King crabs up to a metre across have invaded deep waters on the edge of Antarctica, probably because of climate warming, and are playing havoc with the seabed wildlife, according to a new report.
More than a million of the crabs are thought to have colonised the Palmer Deep, a basin more than 4,300ft down off the Antarctic Peninsula, where they are wiping out species such as sea cucumbers, sea urchins and starfish.
It is thought that rapidly rising temperatures have enabled the crabs to survive in the area, according to a study published in the journal Proceedings of The Royal Society B.
A team led by Dr Craig Smith from the University of Hawaii at Manoa found the crabs using a remotely operated submersible. The creatures are laying waste to the seabed landscape, the study reports, puncturing and gashing the sediment with the tips of their long legs. "This is likely to alter sediment processes, such as the rate at which organic matter is buried, which will affect the diversity of animal communities living in the sediments," Dr Smith said.
The scientists report that the number of species in areas colonised by the crabs is a quarter of that in areas that have escaped the invasion.
- 1 Andreas Lubitz: Who is Germanwings co-pilot who 'locked out captain and crashed flight 9525'?
- 2 JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
- 3 Germanwings crash: Descent may have been 'deliberate, suicidal choice' by pilot, claims experts
- 4 Germanwings plane crash live: Andreas Guenter Lubitz intentionally crashed flight 9525 into the Alps in act of mass murder and suicide – latest
- 5 Video shows what happens when lava is poured onto ice
Nigel Farage brands LGBT activists 'filth' and 'scum' and accuses them of scaring away his children after they invade his local pub
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Russia threatens Denmark with nuclear weapons if it tries to join Nato defence shield
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
Vote Ukip, says far-right group Britain First
£35000 - £45000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity to...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Trainee Managers are required to join the UK's...
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: You will maximise the effective...
£20000 - £25000 per annum + uncapped commission : SThree: Hello! I know most ...