He’s spent his working life beneath the sea but even oceanographer David McCreadie was baffled by a rare visitor to Redcar.
For the formidable-looking red crustacean found by David’s fiancee Diane Weinoski looks for all the world like a King Crab – and they hardly ever stray from considerably icier waters.
Members of the lithododid family, king crabs are large, tasty and usually found in seas MUCH colder than Redcar’s.
And despite having worked and played in oceans across the world since the mid-1960s, David has never heard of one being found this far south.
His suspicion that the six-legged visitor was a king crab species has now been confirmed by David’s friend and world crab expert Dr Norman Sloan, of the remote Queen Charlotte Islands in British Columbia, Canada. Dr Sloan, who used to work in the Natural History Museum, is now contacting an expert on British crustaceans to discuss it further.
“I have dived as an amateur and professional since 1966 and never seen one anywhere near here before.
“I have heard that king crabs have migrated under the Arctic ice cap and been found in Norway, but this is so far south.”
In a lifetime devoted to marine matters, after studying oceanography and marine biology in Bangor, North Wales, in 1966, David stayed to do research before starting a successful oyster hatchery, mussel business and lobster tanks.
Since then, he’s started a smokery which supplies the Royal Family, worked as a senior offshore inspection rep in Abu Dhabi and is currently senior lecturer at the TWI Techonology Centre on Riverside Park, Middlesbrough.
In other words, when it comes to life under the sea, he knows what he’s talking about.
“I know my crustaceans and when I saw this one, I knew it was special.
“I know king crabs are common in the Arctic, especially around Alaska, and they have turned up in Norway recently, but how on earth this one has got so far south, I have no idea. To my knowledge, this is the first one.
“It could only come from very cold, deep water but we don’t have very cold deep water in the North Sea.
“Perhaps it was on its summer holidays!”
Sadly, the king crab’s Redcar vacation didn’t last long.
It was alive when Diane first came across it last Friday, but a subsequent return to the beach found it dead on the sands.
Source – Middlesbrough Evening Gazette, 24 Feb 2015