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  • Writer's pictureNEMAlgarve

Article published about the blue crab on the southwest coast of Portugal

Published in the Estuaries and Coasts journal on June 9, 2022. More details here.

In June 2022, our team published an article about the possible expansion of the blue crab (Callinectes sapidus) to the southwest coast of Portugal, using records sent to NEMA.The NEMA records include 1 observation at Sesimbra in 2019 and 3 observations at the Mira estuary in 2020. These are the only records since the last known record on the west coast of Portugal on Sado in 2009.

The coincidence between the spawning period of the species and the seasonal occurrence of coastal countercurrents may facilitate the transport of eggs and larvae between the south coast of the Algarve and the west coast. These currents originate in the Gulf of Cadiz, running along the entire south coast in a east-west direction, and can go north along the coast, and even reaching Cape Sines.

In the course of this work, it was also possible to "rewrite" the history of the blue crab invasion in Portugal through the recovery of historical records in museums. While until now it was thought that the first record in Portugal was in 1978 on the Tagus River, a record from July 1967 and another from October 1977 were discovered, both also in the Tagus River. Among other historical records, a record was also discovered in the Sado estuary in September 1984, when until recently the first known record in the Sado dated from 2009.

Special thanks to those who sent their blue crab records to NEMA, but also to the Vasco da Gama Aquarium and the National Museum of Natural History and Science for valuable information on the records they hold in their collections.


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