If you have visited SERC and participated in an Estuary Chesapeake Field Trip, you learned about the life cycle of a Blue Crab. As a Blue Crab grows, it sheds its old shell as it goes through a process called molting. Have you ever wondered how a Blue Crab grows its new shell?
The crab forms a new and soft shell underneath the old one before it molts. Once the crab molts and has left its exoskeleton, its new shell begins to grow very quickly. While the shell is growing the crab pumps calcium and carbonate ions into the shell. Once these ions are pumped to the shell, the crab uses a protein to create calcium carbonate and the shell is hard.
Take a look at the articles below for more information about molting and the creation of crab shells!