Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Fight, fight, fight, fight fight!

When two crabs go to war...

Welcome, fight fans, to this exclusive in-depth analysis about what is shaping up to be one of the biggest battles the UK has ever seen. What's at stake? Only complete dominance of mainland UKs waterways and rivers, and all the goodies that go with it.

As with Cricket, Tennis, Football, Rugby, and pretty much anything else that involves competition, when it comes to the British waterways, our home grown efforts are completely outmatched by foreigners. But that doesn't make things any less exciting, for when the showdown finally occurs, you know it's going to be a no-holds-barred bloodbath, or whatever crustaceans use as blood. I think it's still blood they have actually, but probably not the exact same as mammal blood. You probably couldn't do a transfusion between a crab and, lets say, a goat. That wouldn't work. But then, given the complex nature of blood types, rhesus factors and all that, there's still a fair amount of danger involved in doing a transfusion between a goat and, say, another goat. Danger to the goats, because they may be getting an incompatible blood-type, and danger to yourself, because if you keep trying to inject and/or bleed a goat, it'll probably get quite angry and try to batter you to death.

Where was I? Crabs, yes...



In what is looking to be a serious clash of the titans, the upcoming battle has all the hallmarks of a Hollywood classic, with the so far undisputed king being challenged by an aggressive up and comer who may well dethrone him. Think Rocky 4, but without the ludicrous cold-war-ending political message. This battle, which actually is a case of East meets West, is going to kick start a whole new conflict, not end one. So lets look at the competitors...


In the Red Corner...


What we have here is the North American Crayfish, often known as the non-native crayfish, for obvious reasons. It arrived in our aquatic community in the 1970s, and has since then powered it's way to the top largely by killing and eating anything that gets in it's way. Incredibly aggressive and voracious, the Non-native crayfish can cause extinction of a group of native species within 4 years of arriving in the same ecosystem. Our own crayfish are forced to hide in isolated water sources to ensure survival. The Non-native is a mean bastard, with wide, aggressive claw stance, vicious pincers, and if that wasn't enough, it even spreads disease to other species while being immune itself. This mother is so bad he violates the Geneva convention! The North American Crayfish, much like the stereotype of its native countries military, takes no prisoners and causes maximum damage wherever it goes. It even burrows into seemingly secure riverbanks, causing structural collapse of the ground above. Not even the land itself is safe from these guys. And they are completely without mercy, even eating their own offspring if needs be. And I thought it was cruel to force your child to play tennis at age 4.


The North American Crayfish has dominated our waterways for years, so much so that authorities have implemented a 'kill on sight' policy for anyone who finds one. What, you ask, could possibly threaten such an entrenched aggressive species? Well since you asked...




In the Blue corner....
Hailing from the far east, we have the challenger, the Chinese mitten crab. The up and comer, this incredibly aggressive, superbly armed crustacean looks set to take on the Crayfish and oust him from his role as the biggest pain-in-the-ass the UKs aquacommunity has ever seen. So called because of the unusual hair on their claws (this crabs been pimped!), the mitten crab is incredibly aggressive, voracious and generally unstoppable. They eat anything and everything, with their incredibly large pincers designed for crushing supposedly well armoured mollusk shells. They also have the same burrowing habits as the crayfish. Britain has no freshwater crabs, so the mitten crab has had a relatively unchallenged rise to the top spot in the areas it's already infiltrated. But now the crab and crayfish populations are on the verge of meeting, and when two massively destructive communities share the same space, only one can survive...
Pre-Match analysis


In the run up to the big fight, there's always speculation as to who will have the edge, and what are the factors that will decide the outcome. It's never possible to be 100% correct, but just to keep the bookies happy, here's some points to bare in mind.
- The Crayfish have been around longer than the crabs, having at least an extra decade in which to cement their position, so if the crabs want to oust them, it's going to be a long, drawn out battle. We're not talking a one round knockout here, this will have to go the distance. It's the classic debate, experience or youth? But it's also worth baring in mind that the crabs can live in both salt- and freshwater, so there's always the option to retreat and regroup in coastal waters, which the Crayfish can't do. Both sides look to be prepared for a long slog, so it could be anyones game.
- Overall, the crabs are bigger, reaching as much as 10cm in width, compared to the crayfish's 7cm. As well as those formidable pincers, the crabs also have shoulder spines in their arsenal, which the crayfish lack. It's also widely recognised that the crabs are a lot stronger. The crabs are bigger and stronger than their opponents. But then, so was Ivan Drago...
- The crabs have a rounded body plans like all crabs, and presumably the same sideways walking thing too. The crayfish have a more streamlined shape and forward movement. In terms of overall manoeuvrability and agility, the Crayfish comes out ahead, which could be a deciding factor.
- Both species tend to wipe out any creatures that attempt to share their environment, so we won't be expecting any outside interference here. There'll be no allies running in with a chair mid-bout. There is the aforementioned 'kill on sight' which applies to the crayfish and not the crabs. But it's dubious as to how that will affect a sub-aqua battle, out of sight of humans. Unless you have Setanta, of course.

So there you have it, two monsters of the crustacean world, fighting it out for dominance. Who will emerge victorious? Either way, we'll be doing our best to exterminate the swines. Altogether now,
"It's the, Eye of the Tiger, the cream of the fight, risin up to the challenge of our rivals..."

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3 comments:

dave_hullo said...

My money is on the crayfish. Or it would be if bloody Ladbrokes would accept it. If memory serves it wiped out just about everything as it spread along the West coast of the U.S. Although I do like the idea of an invading hairy crab. Of course the military tactics of both will be easy to predict...heavy use of the pincer movement. My brain hurts, I am going for a shame-nap.

faceless said...

Crayfish Vs Mitten Crab? The name's alone are enough for any sensible person to make a logical choice.

When I toddle along to my local dog-fighting pit of an evening I'd certainly not be putting my social security on a dog with a girl's name.

Think about it. I dare you.

Randy said...

Put one of each in a tank and see what happens

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