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Science
THE LIVING WORLD
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PROGRAMME INFO
Sunday 06:35-07:00
The Living World is a gentle weekend natural history programme, presented by Lionel Kelleway, which aims to broadcast the best, most intimate encounters with British wildlife.
nhuradio@bbc.co.uk
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Listen to 09 October
PRESENTER
LIONEL KELLEWAY
Lionel Kelleway
PROGRAMME DETAILS
Sunday 09 October 2005
A close up picture of a chinese mitten crab
A Chinese Mitten Crab

Mitten Crabs

Lionel Kelleway joins Chris Dutton from the Environment Agency on a small island called Chiswick Ait to look for some invaders that are taking over the banks of the Thames - Chinese Mitten Crabs.

These charismatic crustaceans, which get their name from the woolly mittens on their pincers, arrived in England last century but numbers grew in the 1990s.

It has been assumed that they arrived in the ballast water of ships but Chris believes they made their own way across the Channel from Europe , where they had been previously introduced.

They are now found in the Thames as far upstream as Staines . They have few predators and can eat almost anything so they have been hugely successful, but with a cost to the environment: they burrow a metre or more into the mud banks, causing them to collapse. Lionel sees for himself how the banks are eroding and asks if anything can be done to stop the destruction.
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