Blue Crab Glossary - glossary of terms & names refering to the Maryland Blue Crab

Blue Crab Glossary

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Apron -- The crab abdomen which is folded under the body.

Bare Potting -- An unbaited pot is placed in a barren area where the crab goes for a place to hide.

Buck and Rider -- A pair of mating crabs; doubler.

Buckram Crab -- A crab past the paper shell stage but not in the true hard shell condition; approximately 12-24 hours after the shed.

Buffalo Crab -- Soft crab with the claws missing. Doorknob.

Buster -- Molting crab beginning to emerge from its shell.

Carapace -- The top part of the shell that is removed to clean the crab.

Channeler or Chandler -- Large male that remains in the deeper channels of the bay or river.

Dead Man's Fingers -- The gills, located under the carapace or top shell.

Doorknob -- Soft crab with the claws missing. Buffalo crab.

Doubler -- Male carrying female crab. Buck and Rider. *Information courtesy of the University of Delaware Sea Grant Marine Advisory Service.

Fat Crab (also Green Crab, Snot Crab) -- Refers to a crab approaching the molting stage and showing a white-rim color sign within the margins of 2 outer segments of the swimming legs. Also describes any crab, between the Buckram and Peeler stages, with firm meat.

Green Crab -- White-rim crab. Sometimes the raw (uncooked) crab.

Hair Sign (Rim) Crab -- An early-stage, white-sign peeler.

Hard Crab -- Crab with a hard shell; following the buckram condition.

Jimmy Crab, Jimmy Dick, Jimmy Channeler -- Very large male crab. Channeler.

Jimmy Crabbing -- Male crab is tethered swimming on a string to catch a female.

Jimmy Potting -- Seasonal method for catching female crabs that did not reach terminal molt the year before. Two or three Jimmies are placed in a pot to attract females. Used during the last two weeks in May. No bait is used.

Lick -- Describes dredging for crabs. Dredge is drawn across the bottom to catch wintering crabs or summer soft shells.

Megalopa -- Final larval stage between zoea and crab stage.

Mustard -- Yellow substance in a cooked crab under the carapace. Has a strong taste and is part of the crab's digestive system.

Nicking or Breaking a Crab -- Break a moveable finger of the claws to prevent their use.

Paper Shell -- A crab past the soft shell stage but not yet a buckram. Approximately 9 to 12 hours after the molt.

Peeler Crab -- Hard crab that has a fully formed soft shell beneath. A red sign crab.

Pink Sign (Rim) Crab -- Following the white sign condition. A thin pink line along the inner border of the back fin (paddle) about 1 week before molt.

Rank or Rank Peeler -- Red sign peeler approximately 2 hours before busting.

Red Sign (Rim) Crab -- Following the pink sign stage. A thin red line along the inner border of the back fin (paddle) about 2 days before molt.

Sally Crab -- Immature female, the apron is still attached. She-crab.

Seconds -- Crabs that have just turned from a white sign to a pink sign. Pink sign crabs.

She-Crab -- Immature female.

Shed -- Either the empty shell or the process of casting off the shell.

Snot Crab -- White sign crab, so named because of the watery substance, which issues from the "nicking" of the claws.

Soft Crab -- Crab that has just shed its old shell and now has a soft pliable shell before hardening.

Sook -- A mature female.

Sponge Crab -- Female crab carrying an egg mass; berried crab; busted sook; cushion crab; lemon bellie; lemon crab; orange crab; punk; ballie.

Terminal Molt -- The final molt, usually associated with the female because, at this time, mating takes place while in the soft shell state.

"Ticky" Crab -- One that smells of iodoform, probably because of eating a marine bottom animal called Balanoglossus.

Water Gall, White Crab, Windjammer -- Crab that is almost in the hard shell condition or just hard and is very light in color and weight.

White Sign (Rim) Crab -- The fat, green or snot crab condition. A thin white line along the inner border of the back fin (paddle) about 2 weeks before molt.

Zoea -- The larva that hatches from the egg and continues until the megalopa stage.


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