A. Quinton White, executive director of JU’s Marine Science Research Institute, offers some delectable facts about the “tasty beautiful swimmer,” or blue crab, that populates the St. Johns River in his Friday, April 26, Florida Times-Union River Life column.
The phrase “tasty beautiful swimmer” actually does properly identify this well-known creature, as that is what its scientific name, Callinectes sapidus, means.
Here’s a snippet from the column:
Growing up in the Norfolk, Va., area on the banks of the Chesapeake Bay, I thought the correct name was Chesapeake Bay Blue Crab. But after I left home to go to college in North Carolina, I soon learned that the blue crab is claimed by many and often identified by the body of water from which it was caught. I think I have eaten blue crabs from almost every state south of the Mason-Dixon Line, including our St. Johns River blue crabs.
White goes on to discuss the importance of the blue crab and its eggs to the food chain:
In fact, of the approximately 2 million eggs each female produces, only a few will reach adulthood. The rest become food for other animals and even the adults are prey for predators like fish, octopus and humans.
So the next time you eat steamed crabs or crab cakes, take a moment to appreciate this beautiful swimmer, and its fascinating life history.
To read the entire column, click here: