Callinectes sapidus usually goes through seven zoeal stages and 1 postlarval, or megalopal stage. Sometimes an eighth zoeal stage is observed. Larval abundance is greatest when the tide begins to recede, because the larval release often occurs at the peak of high tide. Blue crab larvae are advected offshore, completing development in coastal shelf waters. Typical development through the seven zoeal stages is between thirty and fifty days before metamorphosis to the megalopal stage. The megalopa persists between six and fifty-eight days. The megalopal stage returns to estuaries for settlement, and eventual recruitment to adult populations.
Development - Life Cycle: metamorphosis
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