Friday, August 9, 2013

Lady Crabs by Thomas G.

Lady Crabs

Lady crabs, or Ovalipes ocellatus, live in eastern North America. They are also known as calico crabs or ocellated crabs, because of the purple spots on their shells. They live in the Atlantic Ocean, from Canada to Georgia. They are generally 3.5 inches wide and 3 inches long. They have beautiful shells, earning the name “Lady” crab. Lady crabs are white to yellowish grey, with reddish purple mottled spots all over their bodies and claws. Female crabs use their tails to cover their eggs. Young crabs hatch in the early summer month, beginning their lives as zooplankton. They settle to the bottom of the ocean as crabs by early fall. Lady crabs are very aggressive and they have sharp claws. They also are very tasty. The crabs are often seen partially buried. At the field station in the marsh when I am looking for them, I try to cover as much area as possible. You will know when you step on them. They scurry away from under you and try to pinch you. They then get away very fast, as lady crabs can swim. Like most crabs, lady crabs are scavengers who eat whatever they can find.

By Thomas G

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