Marine Biology

, Volume 152, Issue 2, pp 265–272 | Cite as

Physiological stress responses in the edible crab, Cancer pagurus, to the fishery practice of de-clawing

  • Lynsey PattersonEmail author
  • Jaimie T. A. Dick
  • Robert W. Elwood
Research Article


We examined physiological stress responses in the edible crab, Cancer pagurus, subjected to the commercial fishery practice of manual de-clawing. We measured haemolymph glucose and lactate, plus muscular glycogen and glycogen mobilisation, in three experiments where the crabs had one claw removed. In the first, crabs showed physiological stress responses when ‘de-clawed’ as compared to ‘handled only’ over the short term of 1–10 min. In the second, de-clawing and the presence of a conspecific both increased the physiological stress responses over the longer term of 24 h. In the third, de-clawing was shown to be more stressful than ‘induced autotomy’ of claws. Further, the former practice caused larger wounds to the body and significantly higher mortality than the latter. Since the fishery practice is to remove both claws, the stress response observed and mortality data reported are conservative.


Lactate Concentration Fiddler Crab Freshwater Prawn Physiological Stress Response Macrobrachium Rosenbergii 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



This study was financed by a Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) PhD studentship to LP. The authors would like to extend sincere thanks to Grant Stentiford and Mark Briffa for their advice with the physiological assays and Philip Johnston for his technical assistance whilst field working.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lynsey Patterson
    • 1
    Email author
  • Jaimie T. A. Dick
    • 1
  • Robert W. Elwood
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Biological Sciences, Medical Biology CentreQueen’s University BelfastBelfast, N. IrelandUK

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