The Atlantic blue crab species has descended onto beaches in Lecce, in Italy’s southern Apulia region. Experts have warned parents and particularly tourists to watch their children and keep them away from the aggressive species, called Callinectes sapidus. The crab style could also be present in other areas of the holiday-hotspot.

Primula Meo, vice president of the association for the protection of animals and civil protection Ata-PC Lecce, who has been dealing with environmental and animal protection for over 10 years, has issued a stark warning to those visiting the area.

He said: “Knowing the aggressiveness of this alien species that due to the intensification of trans-oceanic maritime traffic and the increase in temperature, is colonising our sea – affirms Primula Meo – I thought it was appropriate to signal its presence so that bathers pay close attention to it, keeping an eye on children who, mistaking it for a common native crab, could injure themselves with the force of its sharp claws and the presence of sharp thorns on its carapace.”

Some have claimed their presence is down to the effects of climate change.

Thomas Miller, director of the Chesapeake Biological Laboratory at the University of Maryland Centre for Environmental Science, said: “Blue crab are a climate change winner in the Chesapeake Bay, there’s no doubt about that.”

Mr Miller is one of a collection of authors on a study on the species, with a report recently published predicting warmer…

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