5 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Maryland Crabs

I'm willing to bet that the only question you've ever had about a crab is whether you should get it steamed or in cake form. But we need to give our state crustacean a little more credit! Unless you're a crab scientist, you might not know very much about these pinchy little guys. Well, we're here to provide a little knowledge--and maybe help you win that trivia night next time!

1. Crabs are old. Really, really old.

The oldest crab fossils are from the Jurassic period--as in, around 200 million years ago. Sadly, we don't know if the dinosaurs enjoyed steaming them with delicious spices, but we are still finding their fossils! (You can even buy some for yourself.) While the dinosaurs all died out, crabs hung in there, and our summer dinners are thankful for it.

Even as a fossil, he's still dancing. Via Wikipedia

2. The Chesapeake blue crab's scientific name is "Callinectes sapidus".

Okay, yes, I know that scientific names are not really that exciting, but you'll thank me when you're on Jeopardy! Callinectes is Greek for "beautiful swimmer", and sapidus comes from the Latin for "savory". We agree, science. They're awfully pretty, and they're definitely savory!

3. Want to buy crabs for dinner? The Baltimore Sun has a price tracker for bushels of crabs.

Check it out here to see how much consumers have shelled out (heh, no pun intended) over the past few years, at different times of the season. A bushel can easily run higher than $300, depending on the size and the sex of the crabs you're buying. And if you're not sure about that...

4. Is the crab you caught a boy or a girl? It's easy to tell.

Just look at its underbelly. A male crab's underside will have a pattern on it that looks like the Washington monument, while a female's will have a pattern more like the Capital building.

Like so. Photo via firsttimerscookbook.com

5. Summer is crab time...even in the zodiac. 

Most people probably know that the zodiac sign Cancer represents those born from June 21 to July 22 (which obviously is a highly popular time for crab feasts here in Maryland). But did you know how a crab got to be a constellation? In mythology, it was said Hercules was fighting a monster, and a crab was sent by the goddess Hera to pinch his feet and make him lose. Instead, Hercules kicked it so hard it flew into the sky and became a constellation. Guess the Disney movie left that part out.

This post was written by Route One Apparel blogger, Eva Niessner.


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