Lippson and Lippson (1997) describe the life cycle of the Blue Crab in Chesapeake Bay, Maryland, U.S.A., which is famous for its Blue Crabs. Blue Crabs spawn near the mouth of the Chesapeake from May to October. The sponge, or egg mass, which may contain up to 2 million eggs, adheres to the undersurface of the crab. The color of the egg mass is golden orange at first, but changes to black as hatching approaches. After a few weeks, small semi-transparent zoae larvae are released. Many of these larvae are swept out into the ocean, where they mix with Blue Crab larvae from other regions of the coast and, eventually, are blown into regional estuaries such as the Delaware and Chesapeake Bays. After additional molts, a second larval form, the megalops, is produced. The megalops, which resembles a tiny lobster, moves along the bottom and up into the Bay system, where it molts into a tiny but recognizable Blue Crab. By 12 to 16 months, the crabs have molted several times and reached sexual maturity at an average size of about 13 cm.
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