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 ?
Spawning biology of the blue crab, Callinectes sapidus, in North Carolina.
As for the blue crabs, "The real choice we have to make is to reduce harvesting pressure so that enough breeding-age crabs survive to reproduce," says Boesch.
In this paper theoretical percent retention of blue crabs by size group for commercially available 38.
It is easy to see why he always viewed his job as still being on vacation, because his research focused on clam, oyster, and blue crab populations.
The ability to predict adult population size and thus annual available harvest has been limited by an incomplete understanding of the impact of biotic and abiotic variables as they relate to recruitment and survival of juvenile blue crabs.
The SAGES research, however, indicate that while in the salt marsh, whooping crane diet consisted of wolfberry fruit, blue crabs, clams, snails, insects, fiddler crabs, snakes and fish.
Catch (number) per trap day (CPUE) of blue crabs by area by trap type are tabulated in Table 1.
In the current study, the composition and lipid profile during three developmental stages of blue crabs were investigated.
Population dynamics of blue crabs (Callinectes sapidus) can be studied by using a variety of fishery dependent and independent methods, such as the use of crab pots (Abbe and Stagg, 1996), bottom trawl data, and commercial fisheries landing statistics (Lipcius and Van Engel, 1990).
Unacceptable numbers of sublegal blue crabs will be retained if the mesh is too small; conversely, catch of legal blue crabs will be reduced if the mesh is too large.
Seafood part sells oysters by the bushel - blue crabs - snow crabs - tilapia, sheephead, mullet, frog legs & more.

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