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Portunus pelagicus:   (click for more)

Portunus pelagicus:   (click for more)

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  • Cancer pelagicus  Linnaeus, 1758, (original description).
  • Neptunus pelagicus  A. Milne-Edwards, 1861
  • Lupa pelagica  H. Milne-Edwards, 1834
  • Portunus pelagicus  Rathbun, 1902
  • Portunus mauritianus  Ward, 1942
  • Potunus trituberculatus  , (non Miers, 1876) of authors.
    FAO Names
    En - Blue swimming crab, Fr - Étrille bleue, Sp - Jaiba azul.
    3Alpha Code: SCD     Taxonomic Code: 2311100401
    Diagnostic Features
    Carapace rough to granulose with regions discernible;  front with 4 acutely triangular teeth; 9 teeth on each anterolateral margin. The most external tooth is 2 to 4 times larger than the precedent.  Chelae elongate (more in males than in females) with conical tooth at the base of fingers; 3 spines on the inner margin of the merus. Legs laterally flattened to variyng degrees, last 2 segments of last pair paddle-like.  Males coloured with blue markings, females dull green. 
    Geographical Distribution
    Troughout the Indic and West Pacific Oceans: From Japan, and Philippines troughout Southeast and East Asia, to Indonesia, the East of Australia, and Fidji Islands, and westward to the Red Sea and East Africa. P. pelagicus occurs also in the Mediterranean Sea as lessepsian species along the coast of Egypt, Israel, Lebanon, Turkey, the Syrian Arab Republic, Cyprus and the east southern coast of Sicily.
    Habitat and Biology
    Sandy and sand-muddydepths in shallow waters between 10 to 50 m depth,including areas near reefs, mangroves, seagrass and algal beds. Juveniles most commonly occurring in intertidal shallower areas. Age of maturity around 1 year.Feeding on a wide variety of sessile and slow moving benthic invertebrates (hermit crabs, gastropods, bivalves, ophiuroids, and gammarid amphipods). Almost exclusively carnivorous, rarely consuming plant material.
    Maximum carapace width 20 cm (males). Common size in male: 140 mm cw (64 mm carapace lenght).
    Interest to Fisheries
    Mainly collected by artisanal traps, trawls, beach seines, cylindrical wire traps, folding traps, pots, hop nets, drop nets and crab gill nets. The total catch reported for this species to FAO for 1999 was 133 938 t. The countries with the largest catches were China (52 577 t) and Philippines (34 076 t).
    For sale in local markets (frozen or fresh) and for the crab-flesh canning industry. It attains lower prices than Scylla although crabs of Portunus are taken in larger quantities.
    The species is similar to Portunus trituberculatus in its general appearance. P. trituberculatus resembles a large stocky female of P. pelagicus . P. pelagicus is, however, easily distinguished because it have 4 frontal teeth (3 in P. trituberculatus ) and it have 3 spines in the merus of chelipeds (4 in P. trituberculatus ). Portunus sanguinolentus (Herbst, 1783) inhabit the same area but it is easily distingushed by their 3 prominent maroon to red spots on posterior 1/3 of carapace.
    Carpenter, K.E. and V.H. Niem (eds.). 1998Species identification guide for fishery purposes. The living marine resources of the Western Central Pacific. vol. 2: cephalopods, crustaceans, holothuroideans and sharks. Rome. F.A.O.
    Sakai, T. - 1976 Crabs of Japan and the adjacent seas. Kodansha Ltd. Tokyo. 773 p.
    Vera, J. - 1992Diccionario multilingüe de especies marinas para el mundo hispano. Ministerio de Agricultura, Pesca y Alimentación. Secretaria General Técnica. 1282 pp.
    Williams, M.J. - 1982Natural foods and feeding in the commercial sand crab Portunus pelegicus Linnaeus 1758 (Crustacea, Decapoda, Portunidae) in Moreton Bay, Queensland. Journal of experimental Marine Biology and Ecology. 59: 165-176.
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