A bottom-dwelling predator that feeds on a variety of live and dead fish, crabs, clams, snails, eelgrass, sea lettuce and decayed vegetation, blue crabs are the best-known symbol of Maryland’s Chesapeake Bay.
In the Bay region, male crabs are commonly referred to as “jimmys” and females as “sooks.” Blue crabs reach maturity in 12 to 18 months and have been measured at up to 11 inches. The yearly harvest of hard crabs from the Bay accounts for over 50 percent of total U.S. landings.
You can tell males and females apart by looking at their underside. The male’s abdomen is long and slender, resembling an inverted “T,” while a female’ can be triangular or rounded, depending on age. Old-timers say the male’s underside is reminiscent of the Washington Monument while the female’s looks like the domed Capitol Building.
Illustration of Blue Crab courtesy of SERTC,
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