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Why do habitat and climate change matter?

Decapod crustaceans are found in a wide range of habitats and play vital roles in both aquatic communities and our ecosystems.

It is vital we consider the numerous threats to their ‘wild welfare’ which include things such as pollution, habitat loss, invasive species, and climate change. Since decapods are integral to ecosystems, anything which causes harm to them can have a much greater impact on the overall health of our oceans and rivers. And this really matters, as healthy oceans and other bodies of water, sustainably deliver a range of benefits to people now and in the future.


What are the leading threats to decapod crustaceans?

Much more research is still needed around decapod crustaceans and different experts have drawn their own conclusions about the most pressing one but some of the key ones are touched on below with link to articles and research, if you want to know more.

  1. Pollution – whether it is hermit crabs living in discarded bottle top shells or animals who have microplastics getting directly into their systems, sadly, there is a lot to be concerned about. Pollution can also come from the fishing industry itself, and the chemicals and sewage which ends up in bodies of water.

You can read more of these stories below


2.Habitat loss – since decapod crustaceans live in a range of aquatic settings any damage to relevant habits, such as coral reefs, which are in decline are of great concern


3. Invasive species- a number of non-native species have been introduced to the UK over the years including shore and Chinese Mitten Crabs and  Signal crayfish which was introduced from North America in the 1970s. Commonly, these were species introduced to be farmed for restaurants and food shops but ended up in the wild and had devastating affects on native decapods, forced to compete for food and space.  There is no simple way to reverse such invasions.

4. Climate Change – climate change  will affect us all, whether we live on land or in the oceans and you can read more about how it relates to decapods here


5. Overfishing – Numerous studies show the problems caused by overfishing which includes decapod crustaceans as it relates not only to their numbers but also overfishing of things they feed on such as krill.

Orange hermit crab in a textured shell standing on sand

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Crab stands atop a rock in front of a purplish grey sky with both claws raised in the air

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