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Invasive green crab species spotted in Padilla Bay, Anacortes

European green crabs can damage habitat for local sea life. (Photo courtesy of Sea Grant Washington)

There’s an invasive species in Washington this summer besides the Asian giant hornet, and this one threatens sea life. An alert has been issued after more green crabs, which can damage habitat needed to support local sea life, were found near Anacortes, Wash.

The Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve was placed on heightened alert after the discovery of dozens of green crabs in August, and The Skagit Valley Herald reports more of the non-native species have been trapped a bit north of the same area this summer.

A warning from Washington State Ferries: Watch your crab pots

Washington state researchers are increasing their shoreline trapping efforts for the invasive European green crab. If left unchecked, the species will invade the habitats and food sources of other species in the area. The reserve normally sets traps at five sites each month as a safeguard against the green crab, but has been forced to set about 170 traps along the shores this year.

Sea Grant Washington is working with the state to eradicate this species. If you see one, take a picture and report it to them here.

Beware that green crab are not always green. The best way to identify them is by counting the spikes near their eyes — they will have five, unlike local crabs. Find more tips on how to identify a green crab here.

The KIRO Radio Newsdesk contributed to this report.

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