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A female blue crab is carrying eggs just visible in the dark. Also note her red fore claws. Blue crabs (Callinectes sapidus) are named the Beautiful Swimmer. Their smooth carapace, or shell, has pointed sides, distinguishing them from other crabs. This detail is protective, but also makes them sleek and speedy, since crabs swim sideways. Swimming crabs have modified rear legs which are shaped like a flat paddle called swimmerets. Blue crabs are a North-western Atlantic native, prevalent along the Atlantic coast in bays and brackish creeks up to Cape Cod. The Blue Crab is Maryland’s state crustation. The male Blue crabs have a brighter blue claw, or chelipeds, while female Blue carbs are more red. As in all crabs, the abdominal vent on the female is much wider to accommodate the eggs. She will spawn only once in her life. They reach breeding age by a year and a half. Crabs are in the Phylum: Arthropoda, and the Subphylum: Crustacea. Blue Crabs are an important commercial harvest, going by the names of Jimmies, Jimmy-Dicks, Channelers, Sally Crabs (juvenile female), and Sooks (females). Blue crabs are aggressive omnivorous predators and piscivores. In turn, Striped Bass and other large fish love to eat them. Blue Crab numbers are declining. This image was made in Rhode Island, USA. I find them to be more approachable while diving at night.
- Janet MacCausland
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Blue Crab (Callinectes sapidus) Beautiful Swimmer edible savory smooth pointed carapace swimming crab chelipeds (claws or pinchers) blue and red commercial harvest Declining Phylum: Arthropoda Subphylum: Crustacea Jimmies Jimmy-Dicks Channelers Sally Crabs Sooks Aggressive predator omnivore piscivore Stipped Bass coastal brackish estuary molt exoskeleton swimmerets North-western Atlantic native Maryland State crustacean © Janet MacCausland night dive Jamestown Rhode Island USA
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- Arthropod - Aquatic