Stone Crab Facts for Kids

Florida stone crab (Menippe Mercenaria) is a very close relative of western gulf stone crab. In fact, it is thought to be a subspecies of Florida stone crab. However, the two species had separated a long time ago; around 3 million years before.

Its carapace is brownish-red in color and spotted appearance of gray markings. At the bottom of the shell, it is yellowish-brown in color. The claws (chelae) are different in size and their tips are black. In size, the claws of a male crab are larger than the females while its carapace is shorter.

The width of its carapace is about 12.7 to 16.5 centimeters.

Florida stone crabs have lifespan of up to 8 years.

A female crab reaches maturity at the age of 2 years. She spawns up to 1 million eggs in one season. During a season, she produces eggs for about 4 to 6 times.

They are distributed across western part of North Atlantic. They are found along the Eastern Seaboard, Texas, Gulf of Mexico and South Carolina.

These crabs inhabit shallow waters and are found in holes measuring 3 feet deep.

The Florida stone crabs like to eat salt-water mollusks called oysters. They also feed on bristle worms, seagrasses, crustaceans and even scavenge carrion.

Some of the predators that prey on stone crabs are marine turtles, Florida horse conch, black salmon, groupers and octopuses. Humans also catch these crabs for food.

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