The Blue Crab in North Carolina
North Carolina State 

Postlarval or 
Megalopal Stage Blue Crab

The Blue Crab in NC HomepageGeneral Information PageLife History of the Blue Crab Fishery Simulations Research Lesson Plans Other Resources, including Library and Internet Resources

test your knowledge

    General Information

    What is a blue crab?
    The blue crab is a crustacean, whose scientific name is Callinectes sapidus, which means "beautiful, savory swimmer".

    What is a crustacean?
    A crustacean is an aquatic or marine creature that is characterized by its hard outer shell. Other examples include lobster, shrimp, and crayfish.

    Are blue crabs useful for anything?
    The most important human use for blue crabs is as a seafood. Blue crabs are a very important fishery species to many east and gulf coast states. Blue crabs are also extremely important in terms of ecology of estuaries because their predatory activities can control the distribution and abundance of their prey.

    I don't think I've ever eaten blue crabs, how common are they?
    Blue crabs are commonly consumed in "Maryland style" crab cakes, and as soft shell crabs.

    What is a soft (shell) crab, what is a peeler crab?
    In order to grow, crabs must first shed their hard outer shell (molt). A peeler crab is one that is about to molt, a soft crab is one that has just molted, and has not yet hardened.

    How do you tell if a crab is a male or female?

    Where do blue crabs live?
    At different stages in their lives, blue crabs live in different places, see life history page for more information.