Features of the Blue Crab

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The Blue Crab
The blue crab is named because of its sapphire – tinted claws. Its shell, orcarapace , is actually a mottled brownish color. Their scientific name, Callinectes sapidus, means “savory beautiful swimmer.” Large males can reach 9 inches in shell width. Crab claws are various shades of blue and mature females have red highlights on the tips of their pincers. These bottom-dwelling creatures have a prickly disposition and are quick to use their sharp front pinchers. Crabs can regrow pinchers or legs lost while fighting or protecting themselves. They feed on almost anything they can get hold of , including mussels, snails, fish, planets, and even smaller blue crabs. Blue crabs are also excellent swimmers, with hind appendages shaped like paddles. Blue crabs are found in brackish coastal lagoons and estuaries from Nova Scotia, through the salty waters of the Gulf of Mexico, Chesapeake Bay, and as far south as Uruguay. The blue crabs burrow in soft mud or hide in sea grass to lie in wait for prey or avoid predators. The blue crab migration pattern is closely connected to its lifecycle and really begins when the crabs mate and the female crabs release their eggs. It is hard to believe that female blue crabs mate only once in their lives and a males mate often. At 12 to 18 months, blue crabs have reached sexual maturity. Sexes can be identified by the abdominal flap or apron. In the male it is shaped like an inverted T, but in the female it is broader. Perhaps only one or two crabs survive to become adults. Blue crabs can live up to three years. Prized by humans for their sweet, tender, meat, these wide ranging, ten legged crustaceans are among the most heavily harvested creatures on the planet. Crabs are prepared and eaten as a dish in several different ways all over the world.
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