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Chesapeake Bay Blue CrabNature Title

Blue Crab Chesapeake Bay Title

The famous Blue Crab represents the most important shellfish harvested in the Chesapeake Bay. They can be found virtually anywhere, but typically prefer the brackish waters of tidal rivers, creeks and tributaries. Blue crabs are bottom dwelling scavengers that will feed on practically any type of living or dead animal, eelgrass, sea lettuce, and decaying vegetables.


Blue crabs have an aggressive behavior and will fight any other animal regardless of its size. When confronted they will click their claws together, and pinch down and lock to anything within their reach. They can walk rapidly along the bottom and travel long distances swimming in a sideways motion.


Crabs grow by molting or shedding their shell. When the outer rim of their paddles turns pink or red they're called a "peeler because it's a sign that they are ready to shed their shell. After molting the new shell is soft and pliable and will gradually harden over the course of 2-3 days. During this time they are defenseless and will often hide in eelgrass or cling to pilings.


The supply of blue crabs in the bay was once thought to inexhaustible, however, recent over crabbing has depleted the stock to the point where conservation measures are now necessary.


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