Researching Crab Development
The stone crab fishery is very important in Florida, contributing close to $25 million a year to local economies. It is considered a renewable fishery because adult crabs are harvested only for their claws. Fishermen remove the claws at their joint and then throw the crab back into the ocean in hopes that the claws will regenerate and the crab will re-enter the fishery in future years.
Documenting embryonic development
I have been researching the larval biology of the Florida stone crab for the last several years as part of my dissertation research. I have documented their embryonic development, which takes about two weeks. During the two weeks, the female preens and aerates her eggs (~one million) with her abdomen to oxygenate and keep parasites from settling on the eggs. During this time, you can notice distinct changes in the embryo. Below I have outlined some of the key embryonic development stages that take place during the stone crabs’ development.
(Featured Photo Credit: Jax Shells)