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Development of Seasonal Growth Patterns of the Blue Crab (C. sapidus) in Galveston Bay


The objectives of this study were to fit growth increment data from individually tagged and released blue crabs and caged individuals to a growth model in order to describe growth patterns and determine growth parameters (K and L∞) for input into population dynamics and stock assessment models.

Study Area

Moses Lake, Texas City, Texas

Project Period

2011 – 2013


This project had the focus of categorizing blue crab growth in the wild. The study was divided into two components: mark-recapture of individuals and field enclosures. The mark-recapture events were performed weekly. Blue crabs were collected with seines and traps and tagged with coded-wire tags (Northwest Marine Technology, Shaw Island, Washington 98286). More than 3,000 crabs were tagged for the project and 245 crabs were recaptured. The cage study was also monitored weekly. Crabs were placed individually into submerged enclosures measuring 18"L x 8"W x 8"H with 1" mesh, and were measured every week to identify whether molting had occurred. A total of 91 crabs were used in the cage study, but only 63 molted at least once. Growth increments and time elapsed were then used to create multiple continuous and discontinuous growth models to describe growth patterns of blue crabs in the wild.


Pronker, L.M. 2014. Growth parameterization for blue crabs, Callinectes sapidus, of Galveston Bay, Texas. University of Houston-Clear Lake, Houston.

Sutton, G. and Melendez, L. 2013. Determination of juvenile blue crab (Callinectes sapidus) seasonal growth parameters for input into population and community assessment models. Interim Report.

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