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Mud crab materialises

Last updated 05:00 09/01/2014
Giant Crab
GIANT CRAB: The live tropical mud crab is checked by Peter Crabb of the Goat Island Marine Discovery Centre.

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A dinner plate-sized adult tropical mud crab rarely found in New Zealand is now living at the Goat Island Marine Discovery Centre after being caught in a net at the Pakiri estuary.

The female crab, related to mangrove crabs found in Australia, Asia and Africa, was caught by some very surprised fishermen and brought to the centre.

Known as scylla serrata, it's believed the crab floated to the area as a planktonic larvae.

Mud crabs are prized by recreational fishers in Australia for their impressive size and taste.

It's seldom seen this far south because the crabs don't survive in water colder than 18 degrees Celsius.

One was photographed on Great Barrier Island then eaten by the man who found it.

Another was found at Parengarenga Harbour near Cape Reinga.

There is also believed to be one on the wall of a Kaitaia fish and chip shop.

Go to fish.wa.gov.au/Species/Mud-Crabs for more information.

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- Rodney Times

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