There's an invasive species that has found its way into New York and it's threatening our waters.

The Mitten Crab is native to East Asia. But they have been recently discovered in the Hudson River and Long Island Sound.

Credit - NYS DEC
Credit - NYS DEC
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Disrupting New York's Ecosystems

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) say these crabs move between brackish and marine waters and have the potential to disrupt local ecosystems by out competing native marine life.

  • Interfere with commercial and recreational fisheries, stealing bait and damaging fishing gear and catch
  • Blocking the cooling systems of power plants
  • Burrow in the stream bank, causing bank instability and increased erosion
  • Can alter food webs as they forage on native fish eggs and invertebrates
  • Can compete with native species for food and habitat

READ MORE: Insect Invasion Hits Central New York

Credit - NYS DEC
Credit - NYS DEC
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Recognizing Mitten Crabs

Adult Mitten Crabs have “furry” claws that look like mittens, hence their name. The younger crabs may not have their “mittens” yet.

  • Claws of equal size with white tips and dense patches of brown setae that look like hairy mittens
  • Shells up to 4 inches wide with four lateral spines on each side
  • Notch between the eyes
  • Light brown to olive color
  • Eight sharp pointed walking legs approximately twice as long as the shell width; no swimming legs

READ MORE: 2 of 10 Best Lakes in the Country Can be Found in New York

Credit - NYS DEC
Credit - NYS DEC
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Prohibited in New York

Mitten Crabs are prohibited in New York State. You can't knowingly possess, sell, import, buy, transport, introduce or propagate prohibited invasive species.

The DEC is asking the public to report any mitten crabs they find and help limit their spread to protect the ecosystem in New York.

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If you see a Mitten Crab, remove and freeze it. Be sure to take photos and note the precise you found the crab. Report sighting to the Bureau of Invasive Species and Ecosystem Health by emailing: isinfo@dec.ny.gov or through iMapInvasives.org.

Never release any non-native animal or plant into the wild.

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