Stone Crab
Did you know stone crabs are mostly right-handed because usually the larger claw, called the crusher claw, is on that side? Stone crabs use it and the smaller pincher claw to hold and tear or crush prey for food and to protect themselves from predators. Besides two claws, a stone crab has eight other appendages or legs. Stone crabs have an amazing ability to regrow appendages. They can intentionally drop any one of their legs or claws if they are damaged or sick and re-grow it. In those cases, their survival rate is about 100 percent. For any claw lost in battle or properly harvested by fishermen, an adult stone crab can regrow the claw by 95 percent after three molts (three years). For juveniles, rejuvenation happens at a faster rate because they molt more frequently. When one claw is taken by a fisherman, the survival rate is about 70 percent. When both claws are taken, the survival rate is about 50 percent. If a crab loses both claws, it becomes a scavenger instead of a predator and relies on hiding to protect itself. Adult stone crabs feed on shellfish such as mussels and oysters. Stone crabs live along the Gulf coast from Texas to Florida and along Florida’s Atlantic coast. Juveniles spend their time hiding in crevices, under rocks or under shells. Adults prefer to live on hard bottom habitats in waters up to 200 feet deep. Stone crabs can live seven or eight years.
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