more often when they are small an less
often as they grow.
of each molt is typically a 25%-40%
pictures to the right show the stages of
the molting process.
click on any image to enlarge>
blue crab is ready to molt it is known
as a "peeler" crab.
starts to molt, the crab cracks the back
of the shell between the carapace and
then slowly backs out. It is then in a
soft-shell condition. This is also
to complete this phase varies, but can
take about 2 to 3 hours to complete the
shedding its old shell, the crab expands
by pumping water into its body and the
new shell begins to form.
soft-shell crab is very vulnerable to
predators (including other crabs) and
hide in rocks, aquatic vegetation (SAV)
or bury in mud or sand.
few hours after molting, the new shell
begins to harden. After about 12
hours the shell is slightly stiff and
the crab is referred to as a
another 12 hours, the shell becomes
harder, yet still pliable and is
referred to as a
process of molting takes about three to
four days to complete resulting in a
(bigger) hard shell crab.
its old hard shell (which, is called a
"slough" when it is discarded), the crab
is now temporarily a soft-shelled crab.
The new exoskeleton is there, but it is
still very soft.
image of a blue crab molting