Adult blue crabs are distinctive. Olive shell set off with blue legs and claws and an undeniable fighting spirit. Young larvae and juveniles, however, are very difficult to distinguish from some of their close cousins. I had great news last week that a manuscript I have been working on since 2005 was accepted to the Journal of Crustacean Biology and is due out in early 2011. When I first started studying blue crabs in 2004, I was faced with the challenge of separating blue crab (Callinectes sapidus) megalopae from those of the lesser blue crab (Callinectes similis). I couldn’t make heads or tails of the problem because the original descriptions of the megalopae didn’t seem to match what I was collecting in the wild. A colleague was kind enough to pass along an unpublished manuscript by Ken Stuck and others that made separation of the species possible, if still not exactly easy at first. After contacting the authors of the original publication for permission, I combined data from the original manuscript with new data that I collected, and submitted the new manuscript. It includes drawings of both blue crab and lesser blue crab megalopae and juveniles and keys for separating them from similar species occurring along the US Atlantic and Gulf coasts. If a copy of the manuscript would be useful for your work, please contact me and I’ll send one your way.
Have new blue crab research your are publishing? Send a description and I'll include it in the blog.