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Alison McCarthy, David McGrath and Brendan Allen (2005)

The Grey Swimming Crab Liocarcinus vernalis (Risso, 1827) in Western Irish Coastal Waters (Decapoda: Brachyura, Portunidae)

The Irish Naturalists' Journal, 28(1):20-26.

To date, there is only one published record of the swimming crab Liocarcinus vemalis from Irish waters, collected in 1857 (Ingle and Clark 1998). Beach seining (carried out in May 2003, and September 2002, 2003) revealed that L. vemalis is relatively common on a number of sandy beaches in Cos Galway and Kerry on the west coast of Ireland. L. vemalis specimens were also found among collections of the very similar Liocarcinus marmoreus (Leach) at the Natural History Museum, Dublin. These were collected in Co Galway and date back over 130 years. Possible reasons for the historical scarcity of records of this swimming crab in Irish waters are discussed. The present study emphasizes the value of voucher material in museums, without which, in this case, L. vemalis would have been recorded as a new species in Irish waters and, therefore, as a possible indicator of climate change.

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