Tag: Crabs

Top Ten Most Wanted, Continued (#2)

(This post is part of our blog series that deals with Pearls International’s take on social and environmental responsibility. For more information on how Pearls International gives back, please click here.)

As this series nears its end, we would like to talk about a huge offender to not just oysters and other mollusks, but everything that lives in the ocean. Not all threats are other animals, or even living organisms at all. Some of the most deadly predators are unseen.

Ocean Acidification Most Wanted Poster

2) Ocean Acidification
Ocean Acidification is a huge concern in the sustainability in our oceans in the not-so-distant future. Our oceans naturally absorb carbon dioxide, and their capacity to contain CO2 is not endless, as once was thought. The more carbon emissions we create (from excessive burning of fossil fuels), the more acidic our oceans are becoming. These increasingly acidic waters have a huge effect on our ecosystems, beginning in areas where water is shallow and slowly spreading outward. Oysters and other mollusks have trouble getting the energy to build up their shells, and many spats expend all their energy and die before given the chance. On the other hand, oyster predators such as crabs have adapted to grow thicker shells to defend against the acidic waters. Starfish have been documented to consume 20% more oysters when the oysters are submitted to acidic waters (as the animals will have thinner, weaker shells and be much smaller than healthy oysters.) With food supply for these predators getting shorter, the food chain in the ecosystems they reside in is becoming more and more off balance.

Top Ten Most Wanted, Continued (#7 and Counting)

(This post is part of our blog series that deals with Pearls International’s take on social and environmental responsibility. For more information on how Pearls International gives back, please click here.)

We find this week’s oyster-offender particularly creepy. These unusual, tiny animals are occasionally found inside the oysters we use as food, however, some people consider these little crabs a delicacy. To each his own!

Pea Crab Most Wanted Poster

7) Pea Crabs and Other Oyster Crabs
If you’ve ever had oysters on the half-shell or shucked your own oysters, you may have seen a tiny, squishy crustacean, smaller than a pea, sitting inside the shell of the oyster. These are called “Pea Crabs,” and they crawl into the unsuspecting oyster’s shell and live inside, usually in its gill area. Contrary to the belief of some, this is not a symbiotic relationship. These creepy little crabs are oyster parasites and live off the food the oyster collects. Not only do Pea Crabs steal the oyster’s food, but they can do permanent damage to the oyster by causing gill erosion.

In addition to Pea Crabs, there are also a variety of other crabs that are natural enemies of the oyster. Species such as Mud Crabs and Blue Crabs can use their claws to crack open and eat the oysters.  For this reason, and also because it gives us the heebie jeebies to think about a tiny crab crawling around in our gills, we give the Pea Crab and Other Oyster Crabs a shared Number Seven (#7) on our Most Wanted List.

Stay tuned for more unbelievable oyster threats, leading up to the Number One (#1) enemy of our beloved oysters.