Blue Crab

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Blue Crab

Scientific classification

Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Malacostraca
Order: Decapoda
Suborder: Pleocyemata
Infraorder: Brachyura
Superfamily: Portunoidea
Family: Portunidae
Genus: Callinectes
Species: sapidus
Binomial name
Callinectes sapidus
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.

See also
Dungeness Crab
• Soft Shell crab
• Queen crab ( snow, opilio)
King Crab
Spiny Lobster


This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Blue Crab".

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