Blue crabs are one of the most distinctive types in the Chesapeake Bay. Above, blue crabs space harvested near the Honga flow in Somerset County, Md., top top Aug. 3, 2017. (Photo by will Parson/Chesapeake bay Program)The crab pots provided to catch them were set by educators as component of the teachers on the Estuary Workshop led by employee from the Maryland room of herbal Resources, nationwide Oceanic and Atomospheric administration (NOAA), and also the Chesapeake just Foundation.

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A slow-moving male blue crab rests on the deck the the Virginia academy of naval Science (VIMS) R/V only Eagle after being recorded by the Blue Crab Winter Dredge inspection in the reduced stretch of the Chesapeake Bay close to the mouth of the York river in Virginia on march 8, 2016. The survey operates throughout the winter, when blue crabs burrow into the mud and also remain dormant till water temperatures rise. (Photo by will certainly Parson/Chesapeake bay Program)


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Marine Scientist Gabrielle Saluta of the Virginia institute of naval Science (VIMS) return tagged blue crabs native aboard R/V only Eagle in the reduced stretch the the Chesapeake Bay close to the mouth that the York flow in Virginia on march 8, 2016. (Photo by will Parson/Chesapeake just Program)


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Tuana Phillips, a staffer through the Chesapeake study Consortium, hold an adult blue crab during a expedition to smith Island, Md., on Oct. 27, 2014. Partners of the Chesapeake Bay regimen Forestry Workgroup discover the down-Bay atmosphere of blacksmith Island to see the impact of their reconstruction efforts. The visitors hauled increase their own crab pots, sorted oysters on the water and also experienced life in the smith Island neighborhoods of Tylerton, Ewell and also Rhodes Point. (Photo by will Parson/Chesapeake just Program)USAGE inquiry INFORMATION


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Female blue crabs construct an exterior egg mass, or sponge, beneath your apron after ~ mating. The shining orange egg mass might contain between 750,000 to two million eggs. (Photo courtesy David Saddler/Flickr)


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A pair of mating blue crabs, recognized as a "doubler," are captured in a dip net on the Chesapeake Bay close to the mouth the the Choptank flow on Aug. 27, 2010. (Photo by Alicia Pimental/Chesapeake only Program)


Quick Facts

varieties

Native

size

Up to 9 customs in diameter

Habitat

Bottom-dwelling crustacean the uses all of the Chesapeake Bay's habitats during the food of its life. Distribution varies based on age, sex and season. Although plentiful in shallow waters and seagrass bed in the summer, the burrows into the sediment that the deeper parts of the Bay come overwinter.Males spend much more time in the fresher waters of the Bay and also its tributaries, while females tend to congregate in the higher-salinity waters of the lower Bay.

range

Distribution spans indigenous Nova Scotia come Argentina in the west Atlantic Ocean. It can be discovered in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries year round.

Diet

Feed ~ above clams, oysters, mussels, smaller sized crustaceans, fresh dead fish and plant and animal detritus.

Lifespan up to 3 year Status secure

The blue crab is a swimming crustacean through bright blue claws and an olive green shell. It is among the most recognizable types in the Chesapeake Bay.


Appearance

The blue crab's carapace (shell) varies in color from bluish to olive green, and can reach approximately 9 customs across. The carapace has actually nine marginal this on each side; the ninth teeth are solid spines. Its claws room bright blue, and also those of tires females feature red tips. Blue crabs have three bag of wade legs and also paddle-shaped rear swimming legs. Males have actually a strong tapered abdomen, or "apron," that resembles an inverted T. Mature females have actually a broad, rounded apron, and also immature females have actually a triangular apron.

Feeding

Blue crabs will feed on practically anything they have the right to find, including clams, oysters, mussels, smaller sized crustaceans, fresh dead fish, and plant and also animal detritus. Castle will also eat more vulnerable soft-shelled blue crabs and little juveniles.

Predators

Blue crab predators include big fish favor striped bass, Atlantic croaker and also red drum. Predatory birds, such together blue herons, and sea turtle are additionally known to feed on smaller crabs.

Reproduction and also Life Cycle

Blue crabs friend from may through October in the brackish waters the the Chesapeake Bay. Prior to mating, males will cradle a soft-shelled female in your legs, transferring her for numerous days while that searches for a safeguarded area for her last molt. As soon as she molts, the pair mates. ~ mating, the male continues to cradle the female till her covering hardens. Males at some point leave to find for another mate, if females move to the higher-salinity waters that the lower Bay.

As they move toward the mouth of the Bay, females develop an outside egg mass, or sponge, beneath your aprons. Each bright orange egg mass may contain between 750,000 and also two million eggs. The egg mass darkens as the arising larvae consume the orange yolk. After around two weeks, larvae room released close to the mouth the the Bay.

Currents move the blue crab larvae, referred to as zoea, out into the seaside waters, wherein they molt several times as they grow. After 4 to eight main of advance in the seaside ocean, the zoea return to the brackish waters of the Bay. Throughout their last larval molt, zoea metamorphose into a post-larval form called the megalopa. Megalopae room pushed ago into the estuary through wind and also tidal currents, stable in key nursery habitats such as seagrass beds and also marsh fringes.. Megalopae at some point metamorphose into immature crabs, i beg your pardon look favor tiny adults. Immature crabs molt several times prior to they with maturity, about 12 come 18 months after hatching. Couple of blue crabs live much longer than 3 years.

Did you Know?

The blue crab’s clinical name originates from the Greek words for “beautiful” and “swimmer.”Male blue crabs are recognized as “jimmies,” if mature females are called "sooks."Blue crabs are among the most vital commercial and recreational catches in the Chesapeake Bay.The Chesapeake bay blue crab populace has not been overfished since female-specific management was enforced in 2008.

Sources and extr Information


Quick Facts

species

Native

size

Up come 9 inch in diameter

Habitat

Bottom-dwelling crustacean the uses every one of the Chesapeake Bay's habitats during the course of the life. Circulation varies based upon age, sex and also season. Although abundant in shallow waters and also seagrass beds in the summer, that burrows right into the sediment of the deeper parts of the Bay to overwinter.Males spend much more time in the fresher waters the the Bay and also its tributaries, if females have tendency to congregate in the higher-salinity waters the the reduced Bay.

range

Distribution spans native Nova Scotia come Argentina in the west Atlantic Ocean. It can be uncovered in the Chesapeake Bay and its tributaries year round.

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Diet

Feed top top clams, oysters, mussels, smaller crustaceans, fresh dead fish and also plant and also animal detritus.