Blue Crab, Callinectes sapidus Rathbun, 1896
In the western Atlantic, blue crabs are distributed from Nova Scotia south to northernArgentina, including Bermuda and the Antilles. Blue crabs are an important link in the foodchain, feeding on fish, aquatic vegetation, mollusks, crustaceans, and annelids while they serveas prey to mammals, birds, and fishes. The high level of genetic patchiness and gene flow foundamong blue crabs inhabiting gulf and Atlantic estuaries suggests that little populationsubstructuring occurs; although, latitudinal clines in allele frequencies may be maintained byselective forces operating over broad geographic scales (McMillen-Jackson et al. 1994). Bluecrabs grow to adult size, 3.9”–9.4" carapace width, after 18 to 20 molts (Van Engel 1958). In theSt. Johns River, where some blue crabs survive to four years of age, adult size is reached afterone year (Tagatz 1968). Female blue crabs mate once in their lifetimes during the periodMarch–December following their terminal molt. Size at maturity varies between about 2.0” and7.0" carapace width (Steele 1979). After mating in the upper reaches of estuaries, females moveto the mouth of the estuary or nearshore coastal waters to spawn. On the gulf coast of Florida,females leave the estuary and move northward toward the Florida Panhandle region beforespawning (Steele 1991).
Publisher - Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI)
Subjects - Crustacean, Blue Crab, Callinectes sapidus
Citation: FWRI. 2013. Blue Crab, Callinectes sapidus Rathbun, 1896, IHR2013-014, St. Petersburg (FL): Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC), Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI). 6 pp http://myfwc.com/media/195795/ihr_2013-014_blue_crab_2013.pdf