bluecrab Rathbun, 1896
The Blue crab (Callinectes sapidus) is a small crustacean
found in the waters off the Atlantic Ocean and Gulf of
Mexico. There is also a blue crab on the island St. Francois,
Seychelles. In its scientific name, calli is Greek for
"beautiful", nectes for "swimmer",
and sapidus is Latin for "savory".
The natural predators of the blue crab include eels, drum,
spot, trout, some sharks, and cownose sting rays. The
blue crab is an omnivore, eating both plants and other
animals. Blue crabs typically consume thin-shelled bivalves,
annelids, fish, plants and nearly any other item they
can find, including carrion.
The Chesapeake Bay, shared by Maryland and Virginia, is
famous for its blue crabs, and they are one of the most
important economic items harvested from it. In 1993, the
combined harvest of the blue crabs was around 100 million.
Over the years the harvests of the blue crab dropped;
in 2000, the combined harvest was around 45 million. The
Maryland Department of Natural Resources has created stricter
guidelines for harvesting blue crabs to help increase
populations. These include raising the legal size from
five to 5.25 inches and limiting the days and times they
may be caught. While blue crabs remain a popular food
in the Chesapeake Bay area, the bay is not capable of
meeting local demand bluecrabs, so they are shipped in
from North Carolina, Louisiana and Texas as well.
Most are eaten as hard-shell crabs, but they can be eaten
unpeeled if caught just after molting, before the new
bluecrab shell has had time to harden. These are known
as soft shell crabs. Blue crabs are extremely high in
vitamin B12 with just three ounces of crab meat having
a full daily allowance. Male crabs are known as "jimmies",
and females as "sooks". A wonderful, full flavored
meat. The blue crab is the official Maryland State Crustacean,
and the tourism slogan "Maryland is for Crabs"
can be found on all manner of souvenir items in the state.
Soft Shell crab
Queen crab ( snow, opilio)
This article is licensed under the GNU
Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia
article "Blue Crab".