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November 13, 2010

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Heat and rain affecting crab sizes

LOCALS may find hairy crabs to be smaller than usual this year because of the high temperature and excessive rainfall in summer, which hampered the growth of locals' favorite autumn delicacy, experts said yesterday.

The annual contest for the hairy crab king and queen - the Fengshou Cup - was held at the Shanghai Ocean University yesterday. About 500 hairy crabs from across the country were entered.

"The summer heat harms crabs, which prefer cool weather," said Wang Wu, a professor at the university.

The rains led to rising water levels in lakes and rivers. As a result, many weeds died due to a lack of exposure to the sun - the dead weeds make the water unhealthy for crabs.

This has led to the average size of crabs being smaller this year in previous harvests.

By various testing methods, experts awarded the most tasty prize to crabs raised in the city's Songjiang District ponds and Wuchang Lake in Anhui Province.

The top king crab, from Junshan Lake in Jiangxi Province, weighed 610 grams, more than three times the size of a normal male crab. The queen, from the same lake, weighed in at 424.4 grams. Crabs sold at local markets usually weigh only 150 to 200 grams.


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