- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
The early bird catches the all-blue crab.
While crabbing with her father, Haley Lindsay, 8, of Newburg caught a rare all-blue crab off Washington Creek late last month.
Haley was hoping she would after pinning up a photo of a pale blue crab found earlier this summer at Battle Creek in Calvert County. The photo and story appeared in the July 11 edition of the Maryland Independent.
Haley’s mom, Angela Lindsay, said Haley had been asking her father if she could go along on one of his Saturday crabbing trips.
Jimmy Lindsay goes crabbing every weekend.
With an unusual crab on her mind, Angela said Haley wanted to go with a little bit more excitement.
Haley said it wasn’t exactly easy to go on the trip, as it required waking up at 4 a.m. to join her father and grandfather to travel to the creek, which is off the Potomac River.
“When I woke up I didn’t want to go. ‘But what if Daddy catches one of the blue ones, I should be with him,’” she recalled.
Not long into the trip, Haley said sure enough, an all-blue crab came up with one of the lines.
Jimmy Lindsay said he recalled saying he should play the lottery that day, as he hadn’t seen a crab like that other than the one he’d read about in the paper.
He said they caught the crab early in the trip and it was certainly the main conversation piece for the majority of their adventure.
Kelly Webb, a biologist with the Maryland Department of Natural Resources, said the find is rare but not unheard of.
Webb said the all-blue crabs have a genetic mutation which affects the crabs’ pigment balance and makes them appear different from normal blue crabs, which are typically an olive-green color with blue claws.
The color of the crab is the only difference between it and a standard blue crab.
She said some crabs with this type of mutation appear all white or various shades of blue.
Lobsters, she said, also experience this type of mutation.
The Lindsays donated their crab, dubbed Snow White — Haley’s favorite princess — to the Calvert Marine Museum in Solomons.
David Moyer, curator for estuarine biology at CMM, said the all-blue crab would be part of a collection recently started at the museum.
The museum has the one caught at Battle Creek and one crab that is all white.
Moyer said, for now, the crab is in a quarantine period as it matures before being added to what he has called “a cool little collection of oddities.”
Moyer agreed with Webb that while rare, these odd-colored crabs are not impossible to find.
Moyer said finding more of them lately could be a function of there being fewer predators eating the crabs when they are small.
The all-blue color causes the mutated crabs to stand out more than other crabs.
Haley said she was happy that she found one of these rare crabs and attributes her limited amount of time crabbing to her luck.
“Like the crab is rare, I rarely go [crabbing],” she said.
Jimmy Lindsay said he was excited for his daughter to have been able to be there when he caught the all-blue crab.
He admitted it was exciting for him, too.
“It would be cool to catch another one,” he said.