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Seafood Photo: Blue Crab's Claw

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Blue Crab

Callinectes sapidus (from the Greek calli- = "beautiful", nectes = "swimmer", and Latin sapidus = "savory"), the Chesapeake or Atlantic blue crab, is a crustacean found in the waters of the western Atlantic Ocean, the Pacific coast of Central America and the Gulf of Mexico. On the Pacific coast of Central America it is largely ignored as a food source as picking the meat is considered too difficult. It is the Maryland state crustacean and the subject of an extensive fishery.

The blue crab may grow to a carapace width of 230 mm (9.1 in). It can be distinguished from a related species that occurs in the same area by the number of frontal teeth on the carapace; C. sapidus has four, while C. ornatus has six.

Male and female blue crabs can be distinguished by their abdomens, which are long and slender in males, but wide and rounded in mature females. A female's abdomen changes as it matures: an immature female has a triangular shaped abdomen, whereas a mature female's is rounded.

The blue hue stems from a number of pigments in the shell, including alpha-crustacyanin, which interacts with a red pigment, astaxanthin, to form a greenish-blue coloration. When the crab is cooked, the alpha-crustacyanin breaks down, leaving only the astaxanthin, which turns the crab red-orange.

(Source: Wikipedia.org)

 

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