blue crab

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blue crab,

common name for a crustaceancrustacean
, primarily aquatic arthropod of the subphylum Crustacea. Most of the 44,000 crustacean species are marine, but there are many freshwater forms. The few groups that inhabit terrestrial areas have not been particularly successful in an evolutionary sense; most require
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, Callinectes sapidus, found on the S Atlantic and Gulf coasts of North America. The blue crab is a member of the family of swimming crabs known as the Portunidae and is characterized by a broad, semitriangular carapace (shell) covering the thorax, by a narrow abdomen tucked under its body, and by five pairs of appendages called pereiopods, of which the first two bear large claws (chelae) and the last two are flattened paddles modified for swimming. It is the most common edible crab of the Atlantic coast, and several million pounds are fished commercially by trapping or trawling each year. It is sold both as the hard-shell variety and as the familiar delicacy known as the soft-shelled crab. In the hard-shell form, the crab is in an intermolt phase (between molts) and the exoskeleton is fully hardened (sclerotized). In its soft-shell stage, the crab is in the phase just after the molt but before the exoskeleton has hardened. Since, in nature, the crab retires to secluded areas at the time of the molt and is thus difficult to collect, commercial fishermen collect the crabs at the so-called peeler stage, which occurs two to three days before the molt. The crabs are then held in pens, on floats in the water, until just after the molt, when they are marketable. The ovaries of the female begin to develop only after mating has taken place. The female carries the young under her abdomen until they hatch as tiny larvae, which are only 1-25 in. (0.1 cm) long. The crabs molt many times and grow to 7 in. (17.8 cm) in about 200 days. Blue crabs are classified in the phylum ArthropodaArthropoda
[Gr.,=jointed feet], largest and most diverse animal phylum. The arthropods include crustaceans, insects, centipedes, millipedes, spiders, scorpions, and the extinct trilobites.
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, subphylum Crustacea, class Malacostraca, order Decapoda, family Portunidae.
References in periodicals archive ?
Some of the best drum fishing with blue crabs comes during the change of the tides.
In this study, larval blue crabs showed diminished growth and decreased survival at a pH that is predicted to occur in the ocean in the next 100 y (IPCC 2007).
We measured the density of derelict crab pot (DCPs) using side-scan sonar and examined bycatch associated with DCPs in nearshore waters (depths [less than or equal to]4 m) of 6 waterbodies important to the North Carolina blue crab fishery, the state's most valued commercial fishery.
To measure the strength of this mate-holding behavior, we exploited the fact that blue crabs will firmly hold onto a stiff mesh net with their walking legs (Fig.
has entered into a licensing agreement with nationally known folk artist Jose Dovis to be his exclusive manufacturer and distributor of Dovis Designs' Blue Crab Stoneware.
Blue crabs (Callinectes sapidus Rathbun) are subject to a significant commercial fishery on the coast of Texas, harvested at a rate surpassed only by shrimp and oysters (in total organisms landed) (Sutton & Wagner 2007).
Blue crabs enter pots in a direction parallel to their carapace width such that this dimension is perpendicular to the face of the opening that the crab enters (Guillory and Merrell, 1993).
From the wide vistas of saltwater marshes teeming with wildlife (great blue herons, Atlantic blue crabs, black and gold fritillary butterflies, mating lovebugs) to the majestic live oaks with whirls of Spanish moss entangled in their limbs to the wide sandy beaches with names (Nanny Goat Beach and Cabrillou) that sound like song titles, the island beckons the appreciative exploring group or the solitary writer seeking inspiration.
White shrimp, blue crabs, sea trout and other fish require brackish water to reproduce, and the mouth of the Rio Grande is one of the few places they could find it.

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