Wild Fact #461 – Crabby on a Friday? – Florida Stone Crab

Florida Stone Crab

Photo from Wikimedia

Yesterday, we spent some time in the trees of North America looking for the intriguing Porcupine, so I thought we would mix things up and head to the ocean today. You can pick a spot pretty much anywhere along the western Atlantic Ocean including Connecticut, Belize, Cuba and even Texas (thanks to the Gulf of Mexico). Once you find the ideal location, keep your eyes peeled for the ever popular Florida Stone Crab (yes, they are also found in Florida). They shouldn’t be too hard to spot since you can probably find these crabs in most restaurants around the ocean. That’s right, the Florida Stone Crab is heavily utilized in the food industry.

So what are we looking for? Well, before they get served to you on a plate, the Florida Stone Crab is about 13-17 cm (5-6.5″) long and roughly 13 cm (5″) wide. They actually have a nice colouring even if it isn’t a vibrant colour. I find the brownish-red with black spots is a good look for this crab. Oh and if you were wondering, their belly is actually a nice tan colour. If you are looking at a live crab then you are probably focusing in on their amazing claws. The claws of the Florida Stone Crab are usually large, and un-equally sized (one is bigger than the other) with black tips. Hopefully you don’t get an extremely close look at these claws since I am sure they could deliver a pretty hefty pinch.

Stone Crab Claws

Prepared Stone Crab Claws - Photo by Veronica ML from Brooklyn, NY, USA

If you are on a mission to find this particular crab (or if you are really hungry) then you should probably focus your attention on the grassy flats, rock jetties or oyster reefs. For the most part, they like to hang out in places where they can either hide from predators (the grass flats and rock jetties) or where they can find a nice meal (oyster reefs). Although, this Stone Crab prefers to feed on oysters they will also snack on other crustaceans, seagrass and carrion, if given the opportunity. Similarly, they need to be on the look out for predators of their own including Grouper, Sea Turtles, Octopuses and of course humans, which is probably their biggest predator.

Okay, it looks like it is time to get out of the water and dry off just in time for the weekend. I hope you had fun playing in the ocean today and I will see you back here on Monday for some more exciting travelling. Have a great weekend!

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