Thursday, August 23, 2012

Search for Megalops SPECIAL REPORT

From Tim Visel of The Search for Megalops:

The Search for Megalops
CT Blue Crab Special Report – Waves of crabs detected perhaps moving both east and west
NOTICE TO MEGALOPS EMAIL LIST = Attention Crabbers – Wednesday August 22, 2012
Information obtained on August 14-18 appears to contain reports that a series of large waves of adult blue crabs are moving along Connecticut’s coast.
These crabs have a very different appearance and don’t resemble the bright white/blue shells of spring and summer.  These crabs might be several years old perhaps the 2006 and 2009 Megalops set survivors.
Crabbing has soared in Branford and Guilford and now Milford.  This is a very good sign for western Connecticut crabbers.  The densest population this year based upon crab catch reports so far has been the New Haven estuary – Quinnipiac, Mill and West Rivers.  We do not know the source of these “new” crabs.
What to look for:
1.       These populations contain yellow face crabs– a piece of yellow around the mouth area.  Yellow face crabs have been observed in Clinton Harbor on August 18th. Yellow face crabs have not been observed in the CT River population as yet.
2.       A significant portion of the population has a second growth claw – a perfect claw that is about half the size of the regular claw – this is a crab that is several years old, it takes several years to re-grow a lost claw, perhaps 2 to 5 years.  Reports of any crabs with a second smaller claw would be helpful.
3.       The shells of these crabs show numerous injuries, sometimes shell damage that has healed, some may even be missing a point entirely.  I have seen two of these crabs in Clinton Harbor last Monday.  The shells show nicks, scratches etc.  It is obvious that they have been in these shells quite awhile.
4.       The underneath areas might have a brown growth, looks like an algal coating of some kind.  The claws may have dark brown patches or black streaks toward the tips.
5.       No female sponge crabs appear to be a part of these populations. 
We may be able to track the movements of these crabs by the date and time they appeared in crabbing spots. (General location is fine).  I would appreciate any reports of these crabs or sightings.
Thanks, Tim Visel
Please email reports to: tim.visel@new-haven.k12.ct.us
Notice: WARNING – These crabs are very large averaging 7 to 7.5” point to point.  They have very strong  claws and I have seen one at Clinton Harbor nearly cut a 5 inch crab in half.  They are what has been described as “rock hard” – hard shells; I banded one at the Indian River, Clinton over the weekend and it took two lobster bands in each knuckle to reduce fighting.  Please exercise caution etc.

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