Opinion Brief

The giant crabs invading Antarctica

Hulking crustaceans with appetites to match are taking over the oceans near the South Pole

The video: Antarctica has a bad case of crabs — king crabs, that is. The scarlet-red monsters are each about 3 feet wide, and devour almost everything in their path. (Watch a video below.) Three years ago, scientists predicted that the crabs, which usually haunt the sea floor farther north, would start moving toward Antarctica sometime in the next 100 years as the Earth's climate warmed. But much, much sooner than expected, millions of the king crabs are taking over the oceans around Antarctica. In the process, the voracious carnivores have "wiped out the local wildlife and now threaten to ruin ecosystems that have evolved over 14 million years," says Andy Coghlan at New Scientist.

The reaction: This sounds "like a plot out of a blockbuster horror movie," says Tara Kelly at The Huffington Post. The big crustaceans are thriving on the sea floor's rich supply of starfish and sea urchins — and in areas where the king crabs have invaded, most of these defenseless animals are now gone. Soon, says Jen Doll at The Village Voice, "they'll be in New York City, driving up rents and stealing our jobs and f---ing up the environment. Assuming we still have an environment at that point." See one of these killer crabs for yourself:

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