'Box' crab crawls north
A new crab migrated into Block Island harbors from the Gulf Coast, possibly in a storm or an unexpected ride north in the Gulf Stream. The flame box crab, Calappa flammea, has been caught twice in local waters, once near the Coast Guard Station and once in the inner ponds of the Great Salt Pond, according to Shellfish Commission Chair Hermann “Bo” Gempp.
Calappa flammea is found off the west coast as well as the Gulf Coast, but Gempp said the red coloring of those found here matched up to those living in the Gulf of Mexico. This crustacean feeds on hermit crabs, and Gempp noted that their claws, which resemble that of Floridian stone crabs, are excellent eating.
The two crabs found here were thrown back in the water. Gemp thought they might not survive the cold weather, but he asked that if anyone finds a box crab they call him.