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Collect important data on invasive crabs for state researchers

The “Molt Blitz” on Thursday, June 20 is a collective effort to monitor shorelines along the Salish Sea for invasive crab species.

A European green crab is crawling over a large rock surrounded by other smaller rocks. Its legs are an orange-red blend, and the hard carapace of its body is speckled with browns and grays.

The European green crab is an invasive species that changes color to match its surroundings.

Ready to get your hands a little dirty in the name of science?

Washington Sea Grant and Washington State University Extension are asking residents to take part in a Salish Sea-wide data project called the Molt Blitz on Thursday, June 20 to track and record invasive crab populations.

Researchers hope this will be the state’s largest ever single-day data set of crab molts, allowing them to see where crab species (like the invasive European green crab) have spread to in the Puget Sound.

To conduct your search independently, you must attend one of two virtual training sessions to learn how to identify and collect crab molts:

For those with an untrained eye, Crab Team members will be on site at select shoreline locations during the Thursday event to provide guidance and answer questions before you identify and collect molts.

After learning the standardized steps for the molt search (or with the help of a guide), The Molt Blitz will commence on Thursday, June 20 with timed (~20 minute) searches for European green crabs + native Dungeness crabs.

What to bring:

  • A container for molt storage
  • A measuring device (calipers preferred)
  • A charged phone to report your findings
  • Comfortable walking shoes that you won’t mind getting dirty or wet
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