Populations of green crab (Carcinus maenas) have expanded within Newfoundland, and this has raised concern from fish harvesters and scientists regarding bivalve predation in coastal areas on species such as juvenile sea scallops (Placopecten magellanicus). We used 2 microcosm experiments to determine (1) the effects of water temperature (5°C and 12°C) on scallop predation; (2) scallop size selection in small and large green crabs and a large indigenous predator, the rock crab (Cancer irroratus); and (3) bivalve prey selection in large green crabs between softshell clams (Mya arenaria), blue mussels (Mytilus edulis), and sea scallops. Overall, green and rock crabs captured 4 times more scallops in warm water (12°C) than cold (5°C). Large green (60–70 mm) and rock (75–90 mm) crabs captured similar numbers of scallops, selected medium-size (30–40 mm) scallops, and avoided small (10–20 mm) scallops. Small green crabs (40–50 mm) captured only small scallops. Large green crabs selected softshell clams and blue mussels over scallops. Overall, our research demonstrated that both green and rock crabs can prey on similar sizes of scallops, and suggests that green crabs may be a new predation threat to the shallow coastal scallop populations in Newfoundland.
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Vol. 33 • No. 2