Posts Tagged 'Portunid'

The Chesapeake Bay’s declining bumper crab

As a Baltimore resident, it was only a matter of time before I talked about our most popular and ill-tempered local crustacean. The blue crab, Callinectes sapidus (savory beautiful swimmer), is a Portunid (swimming) crab found along the Western Atlantic coast, from Nova Scotia to Argentina. They have also been introduced to the Pacific coast of Central America, Europe, and Asia. They have a complex, migratory life-cycle that takes them between estuaries and the open ocean. Blue crabs are harvested for food in the US and play an integral part in coastal economies, especially within the Chesapeake Bay where they are somewhat of a cultural icon.

Unfortunately, the population and harvest of C. sapidus has been in sharp decline since the early 1990s due to over-fishing, development, and agricultural runoff. Pollution in the bay unbalances the ecosystem, resulting in harmful microorganism blooms, and stresses the crabs, making them more susceptible to bacterial and viral infections. Due to the economic impact of declining harvests, a variety of regulations and research directives have been employed in order to rejuvenate the blue crab population.

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I have moved.
Arthropoda can now be found here.

Michael Bok is a graduate student studying the visual system of mantis shrimp.

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