Antarctic king crabs (Neolithodes yaldwyni) warming up to invade continental shelf, threatening unique marine community
Stephen Tung (special to Mongabay)
Dangerous and disruptive king crabs lurk in a deep pocket of the Antarctic continental shelf, clamoring to escape their cold-water prison to reach and permanently change the shallower, prehistoric paradise above.
The marine communities on the underwater shelf above Palmer Deep are unique, Aronson said. “It’s much more reminiscent of the Paleozoic era before all those shell-crushing crabs and bony fish and bottom-feeding sharks and rays evolved,” he said. “The bottom communities in Antarctica are anachronisms. They’re a window to the past. They’re going to get modernized when these crabs show up.”