Callinectes sapidus

Blue Crab

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Blue Crab



Callinectes sapidus (from the Greek calli- = "beautiful", nectes = "swimmer", and Latin sapidus = "savory")

The Blue Crab (Callinectes sapidus) is found from Cape Cod to Uruguay, occurring especially in estuaries. It is a beautifully colored crustacean with bright blue claws--the mature female's claws are tipped in red--and an olive to bluish green carapace. The Blue Crab is a commercially important species and is popular with recreational crabbers as well. (Gosner 1978; Lippson and Lippson 1997). The Greek and Latin roots of its scientific name translate to "savory beautiful swimmer".


Atlantic Europe, Baltic sea, Belgian Exclusive Economic Zone, Black Sea, Danish Exclusive Economic Zone, East American Coast, East Coast of England, European waters (ERMS scope), French Exclusive Economic Zone [Atlantic part], French Exclusive Economic Zone [Mediterranean part], German Bight, Greek Exclusive Economic Zone, Gulf of Maine, Gulf of Mexico, Israeli Exclusive Economic Zone [Mediterranean part], Knokke, Knokke-Heist, Mediterranean Sea, North East Atlantic, North Sea, North West Atlantic, Nova Scotia, Oostduinkerke, United Kingdom Exclusive Economic Zone, Uruguay, West Atlantic, Wimereux


Callinectes sapidus, the blue crab, is a bottom-dweller found in a variety of habitats ranging from the saltiest water of the gulf to almost fresh water of the back bays. Especially common in estuaries, this species ranges into fresh water, and may be found offshore. The blue crab's habitat ranges from the low tide line to waters 120 feet (36 m) deep. Females remain in higher salinity portions of an estuary system, especially for egg laying. During times of the year when temperatures are colder, C. sapidus tends to migrate to deeper water.

Range depth: 1 to 36 m.

Habitat Regions: temperate ; tropical ; saltwater or marine ; freshwater

Other Habitat Features: estuarine


Callinectes sapidus is not listed by any conservation programs.

US Federal List: no special status

CITES: no special status

State of Michigan List: no special status



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