The blue crab callinectes sapidus
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The Blue Crab Callinectes sapidus. Callinectes- beautiful swimmer Sapidus-savory. Member of the swimming crab family Aggressive, bottom-dwelling predator and “keystone” species Also make up the most productive commercial and recreational fisheries. Sexually dimorphic. Taxonomy.

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The blue crab callinectes sapidus

The Blue CrabCallinectes sapidus

Callinectes- beautiful swimmer

Sapidus-savory


  • Member of the swimming crab family

  • Aggressive, bottom-dwelling predator and “keystone” species

  • Also make up the most productive commercial and recreational fisheries



Taxonomy
Taxonomy

  • Kingdom: Animalia

  • Phylum: Arthropoda (spiders, insects)

  • Class: Crustacea (lobsters, shrimp)

  • Order: Decapoda (ten-footed)

  • Family: Portunidae (swimming crabs)

  • Close relatives of the shrimp and lobster




Habitat
Habitat

  • Extends along the Atlantic Coast from Nova Scotia through South America

  • Live in estuaries and need brackish (salt and freshwater mix) and high salinity waters for their complex life cycle

  • Loves SAV (submerged aquatic vegetation) to hide in and buries in the deep, muddy parts of the estuary in the winter


General facts
General Facts

  • Diet: Omnivore, opportunistic (taking advantage of what is available), which also means they will eat each other if they have to

  • Average lifespan in the wild: 1 to 3 years

  • Size: 4 in (10.2 cm) long; 9 in (23 cm) wide

    Size relative to a tea cup


Threats
Threats

  • Habitat loss

  • Degraded water quality

  • Overfishing


Economic importance
Economic Importance

  • 1/3 of the nation’s catch of blue crabs come from the Chesapeake

  • Blue crabs have the highest value of any Chesapeake commercial fishery

  • In 2000, the harvest was valued at $55 million

  • Also major recreational fishery


Cool stuff
Cool Stuff!

  • Crabs can release their claws (Autotomy) and regenerate new ones

  • Males are called “jimmies”, females called “sooks”

  • Can survive out of water for several days as long as its moist and not a stressful environment

  • Use chemoreception to find food


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