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First Documentation of Mating Blue Crabs, Callinectes sapidus, in Great Bay Estuary, New Hampshire

Alyssa Stasse1, Kelsey Meyer1, Emily Williams1, Gabriela Bradt2, and Bonnie L. Brown1,*

1Department of Biological Sciences, Ecological Genetics Laboratory, University of New Hampshire, 38 Academic Way, Durham, NH 03824. 2New Hampshire Sea Grant, University of New Hampshire Cooperative Extension, 8 College Road, Durham, NH 03824. *Corresponding author.

Northeastern Naturalist, Volume 30, Issue 1 (2023): N8–N12

On 2 September and 7 October 2022, we captured post-copulatory pairs of Callinectes sapidus (Blue Crab) in Green Crab traps in Great Bay Estuary, NH. On the first occasion, the 2 crabs included a mature post-ecdysis (12–24 hour) female and a mature male, and the female’s shed exoskeleton also remained in the trap. Both seminal receptacles had pink sperm plugs and were turgid with spermatophores, indicative of recent successful insemination. Details of the second capture mirrored the first with the exception that the exuvia was not in the trap. This is the first scientific reporting of Blue Crabs mating in Great Bay Estuary, NH, documenting an ongoing range expansion of a species with the potential to have major ecological and economic impacts.

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