In the Net

Educational Resources-In the Net


Blue Crab
Callinectes sapidus
(Chesapeakebay, 2002)

  • The blue crap is a crustacean and has 10 legs. The last legs are paddle shaped, enabling them to be very good swimmers (Fortheringham and Brunenmeister, 1989).
  • “Callinectes” – in Greek means beautiful swimmer.
  • Known for bright blue claws – is a dominant benthic predator in estuaries, lagoons, and coastal habitats. (Chesapeakebay,2002).
  • They serve two purposes as both predator and prey.
    • As a predator, the adults feed on clams, other crustaceans, fish, marine worms, plants, and decomposing animals and plants.
    • As prey, the juvenile blue crabs are fed upon by eels, fish, sharks, and cownose rays.
  • Females, like the one pictured, carry their eggs in clusters.
  • Females about ready to spawn are known as sponge crabs.
  • A single female crab can produce up to 8 million eggs in one mating season. (Chesapeakebay, 2002)
  • Blue crabs usually live up to three years, but may survive for as many as eight years.
  • Blue crabs, like other arthropods, molt their shell as they grow. When crabs are molting, they are very vulnerable to predators and must hide in grass beds for protection.



Lagodon rhomboids (Linnaeus)
(Hoese and Moore, 1998)

  • Moderate size fish that is edible, but usually does not get big enough to warrant keeping
  • Pinfish have flattened incisors or peg like canines
  • They feed on plant life and invertebrates
  • They are notorious bait stealers, especially when fishing with shrimp
  • Their habitat consists of marsh water
  • They are usually found wharfs, around pilings, and in grass flats


Ribbon Fish
Trichiurus lepturus (Linnaeus)
(Hoese and Moore, 1998)

  • The ribbon fish, also called the Atlantic Cutlassfish has no scales, its body is elongated, and it has four large barbed teeth in its upper jaw
  • Ribbon fish are common close to shore and in the bays
  • Fishermen will troll off the back of a boat using ribbon fish as bait to catch King fish
  • Ribbon fish are capable of giving a nasty, painful bite
  • They die rapidly when removed from the water


Ilex illcebrosus
(Coulombre, 1992)

  • Squid are the fastest swimmers among invertebrates
  • Their bodies are formed to be aerodynamic, so that they can fly through the water
  • They have an internal shell called a pen
  • Squid have fins attached to the side of their body, which stabilize them when swimming
  • Squid have ten arms attached to its head. Eight are short with suction cups on the surface. The other two tentacles are twice the length with suction cups located only at the spoon shaped ends
  • Squid use their tentacles to grab at prey (fish) and then bite off the meat with its beak leaving the tail and gut
  • Squid are commonly used as bait



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