Invasive Blue Land Crabs Reported Along South Atlantic Coast: Coastal Georgia Residents Encouraged to Be Watchful
Recent sightings of a large, non-native land crab along the South Atlantic coast, including in coastal Georgia, are a cause for concern, according to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ Wildlife Resources Division (WRD).
Blue land crabs are native from Brazil to South Florida and can be as large as 5-6 inches. Sightings recently have been reported well north of the crabs’ native range, including the coasts of Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. Multiple reports have been made to Georgia WRD offices.
“While we are uncertain about the potential ecological and economic risks these crabs pose, we are currently concerned about the damage caused by their extensive burrowing,” said Jim Page, WRD Aquatic Nuisance Species Program manager. “As a new non-native species in our state, we need more information about these crabs and are asking for the public’s help.”
The crabs somewhat resemble a large fiddler crab, with one claw larger than the other. Even though they are called blue land crabs, they are not all blue. Adult males more often have the blue coloring, but females can be white or gray, and when younger, their colors can be even more varied. These crabs burrow deep into the ground and are most likely seen when heavy rain drives them to the surface.
The public is encouraged to take photos and report sightings of blue land crabs at GeorgiaWildlife.com/ANS. Questions about blue land crabs? Contact a local Georgia WRD office (details at GeorgiaWildlife.com/about/contact#fish).
Learn more about blue land crabs and other invasive species in Georgia at GeorgiaWildlife.com/ans.
HOW YOU CAN HELP:
- Take photos and report sightings of blue land crabs HERE.
- Questions? Contact a local Georgia WRD Office.
- Learn More about Blue Land Crabs and other Invasive Species at GeorgiaWildlife.com/ans.