Lady Crab

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Project Description

Lady Crab

Ovalipes ocellatus

Range/Geographical Distribution: Along the coast from Cape Cod to the Gulf of Mexico.

Habitat: Shallow subtidal sandy bottoms along beaches and bays.

Description: Pale gray body with purple specks.  Last pair of legs paddle-shaped.

Size: Can reach three inches in carapace width.

Food: Dead and live fish, crabs, clams, and other invertebrates.

Breeding: The female carries the eggs under a flap on her abdomen and when the eggs hatch they are planktonic. The larvae molt several times before resembling an adult and settling down into the benthos.

Predators: Fish, crabs, and birds.

Conservation Status: No legal status.

Interesting Facts: Like blue crabs, lady crabs often bury themselves in the sand with only their eye stalks visable.  These crabs are known for their irritable nature and should be handled with care.

On the Coast: Lady crabs are common along the Georgia coast and their molts, especially the claws, often wash up on the beach.

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