Blue Crabs are called a ‘Jimmie’, ‘Sook’, ‘Sally’, and ‘Sponge Crab. Blue crab males are called ‘Jimmies’ and females are called “Sook, Sally, or Sponge Crab’ depending on their stage of sexual maturity. How can you tell a male and a female apart? Males have blue claws with a ‘T’ shape on their belly, also called apron, while females have orange colored tips on their claws. A sexually mature female blue crab is called a ‘Sook’ because she has already mated and given birth, and she carries a ‘U’ or bell shape on her apron. A ‘Sally’ is not sexually mature and carries an inverted ‘V’ shape on her apron. A ‘Sponge Crab’ is a female carrying eggs. She carries them in a sponge like growth beneath her on her apron.
Female blue crabs mate only once, and even though the female crab mates only once, she may have ‘babies’ several times afterwards. She may lay anywhere from 600,000 to 8 million eggs, and carry them two to nine months!
Did you know that blue crabs shed old shells to get new ones? The process is called ‘molting’ and it takes two to three hours to shed the old shell. The female blue crab sheds her exoskeleton from twenty to twenty five times before becoming sexually mature. After she molts, she mates once and never molts or mates again. Males molt their entire life witch is not long, only about three years.