The mating process of the green crab begins with the seeking out of a recently molted female crab by a male green crab. The female lays eggs which she carries in a pouch underneath her abdomen where the male crab fertilizes them. The female green crab can lay as many as a hundred thousand eggs at one time. Following fertilization, the females then travel to deeper water to more stable water conditions where the eggs begin to develop. Once the eggs have developed into a larvae,or the zoea stage, the larvae then return to the surface waters for about two weeks. Once the larvae have entered the final stage of development or the megalopae stage, the young crabs travel to the coastal waters where they begin a molting cycle and life as a juvenile crab. In approximately three years the juvenile crab will become a fully developed crab and be able to mate and reproduce.(Bamber and Naylor 1997, Washington Dept. 1997)
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