Creatures of the South Louisiana Estuary: The Blue Crab
©2010 Wetland Books – may not be copied in any way without permission
Hi! My name is Beaux, (bo), and I am a blue crab. I would like to tell you the story of my life—where I came from and where I’m headed. Would that be okay with you?
The estuary waters of south Louisiana are my home, and what a wonderful home it is.
My life as a crustacean (crus ta shun), though short, has been an interesting one so far. I have gone through many stages and have had many different names.
First, I was just an egg. My mother carried me around on her tummy until she reached the place in the estuary where the water was just the right saltiness to release my two million siblings and me.
Then I became a larva, floating around in the salty water, eating tiny things floating around me called plankton. Then I grew by doing a trick called molting, which means I got a new body about four times in about 40 days. Pretty cool, huh?
By the time I was about six weeks old, I started eating detritus and small fish. Within a few more weeks, I looked just like a tiny crab. I had a hard shell, six legs, and two big claws, which were great for grabbing my food and putting it in my mouth.
Once I had my swimmers, life really started to get fun! I could quickly scoot sideways along the bottom of the estuary in a cloud of muddy water where no one could find me. That came in really handy when we played crab tag!
It took me about a year and a half to grow up and carry millions of eggs on my tummy for the first time. And wow! What great fun that was, releasing my eggs and watching them float off into the estuary to make millions of tiny new crabs.
I have had a wonderful life in the south Louisiana Estuary system. If you ever come to visit, leave your crab tongs at home, please!