Virginia Institute of Marine Science
Marine Resource Advisory No. 35
The molting of blue crabs, and ultimately soft shell crab production, is regulated by water temperature. A certain threshold or minimum water temperature must be reached before blue crabs begin to molt (shed). Although crabs begin shedding at temperatures in the mid-60'sF (18-19°C), water temperatures near 70°F (21°C) are optimum for active shedding. As the water temperature increases, the time required for a crab to progress through the stages leading to molting decreases (the time needed to go from a white-line, to a pink-line and finally red-line crab). The time needed for a complete molt--for a soft crab to exit from its old shell--also decreases with increasing water temperature. More .....
Blue Crabs, Processing, Fisheries
Oesterling, M. (1990) Heating Soft Crab Shedding Systems. Marine Resource Advisory No. 35. Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William and Mary. http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.21220/m2-tsq7-s907