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There are a large variety of crabs found in the oceans around the world. Some are more common than others and more likely to be seen by people on the beach rather than only in the deeper water. Crabs are caught by the thousands every day by commercial and recreational fisherman and are popular with many diners.
Atlantic Rock Crab
Atlantic rock crabs are found in the Atlantic Ocean along the East Coast, and live in a wide range of water depths. They can be found in shallow water and incoming tides, but are also in water as deep as 2,600 feet. The Atlantic rock crab has a wide oval yellow shell with specks of brown and red. The Atlantic rock crab also has a row of nine teeth that may be either jagged or smooth, depending on the diet of the crab.
Gulf Stone Crab
The gulf stone crab grows to 3.5 inches long and 4 inches wide and is brownish red in color with gray spots and a tan underside. Gulf stone crabs prefer a diet of mollusks and shellfish such as oysters, but will eat sea grass and decaying flesh of dead animals. They are found around the Gulf Coast in bays and reefs where they can more easily avoid their predators, such as sea turtles and fish like grouper. The female gulf crab must shed her hard shell before mating can occur. Their spawning season is spring and summer.
Blue crabs are one of the most popular with commercial and recreational fisherman because of their sweeter meat. They have bright blue claws, often with orange tips, and can be found walking sideways rather than towards the front most of the time. The male blue crab will carry the female after she has molted and they have mated. This is to protect her, and will continue until her shell is completely hardened several days later. Out of the 2 million eggs the female will produce, approximately two will make it to adulthood. Blue crabs will grow to be 7 to 8 inches at adulthood.
The Jonah crab has a wide, oval shell that is brownish purple in color, and is often confused with the similar-looking rock crab. It has thick legs and large, powerful claws and is easier to catch than most crabs since it is very slow moving. It is often called a sleepy crab because of this. Gulls and fishermen are the biggest threat to the Jonah crab, since both treasure the meat found in the large claws.
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