A periodic matrix population model to predict growth potential of the invasive Chinese mitten crab Eriocheir sinensis (H. Milne Edwards, 1853) (Decapoda: Brachyura: Varunidae).
The Chinese mitten crab Eriocheir sinensis (H. Milne Edwards, 1853) (Brachyura: Varunidae) is an important commercial species in Asia, but it has become invasive in North America and Europe, being responsible for dramatic ecological and economic consequences. It is essential to understand its population growth potential in order to effectively control the species. The matrix population model is a powerful tool to quantitatively evaluate population growth since it can incorporate important life-history information. We developed a periodic matrix population model for the Chinese mitten crab based on information on its life history, and evaluated the efficacy of possible control strategies. Elasticity analysis indicated that water temperature and mortality rate during larval development contribute most to population growth. Larval development is therefore the most critical stage in the life history of E. sinensis. The estuarine environment deserves more attention when evaluating the future invasion risk of the species because this is the habitat in which larvae occur. Numerical simulation results also suggested that considerable long-term efforts are required to eradicate this pest once it becomes established, which highlights the importance of taking control measures at the early stages of invasion.