Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Blue crabs on the oyster reef

Here in Georgia we don't have seagrass beds, which in many areas is where blue crabs hide when they molt (shed their shells). After molting, soft-shell crabs are very vulnerable to predation, so having somewhere to hide for a day until their new shells harden is important. Dr. Amanda Wrona (Meadows) did a very interesting radio-tracking study here a few years ago that found that big male crabs were moving up onto the edge of the marsh surface to molt. This summer, I have seen a lot of juvenile soft crabs (like the one in this picture) hanging out in intertidal oyster reefs.

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