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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Peeler crabs come in two colours, red and a greeny colour,

Is it true you can only use the red peeler crab in suffolk ?

or can you use them all over ?

Also is there any other information which is handy to know about peelers
 

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Peeler crabs come in two colours, red and a greeny colour,

Is it true you can only use the red peeler crab in suffolk ?

or can you use them all over ?

Also is there any other information which is handy to know about peelers
i'm not absolutely sure ,but i seem to remember seeing something in a mag a long time ago .

red ones are edible crabs ,subject to minimum size limits . you can't use these under 70mm i think .

green ones you can use.
 

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The shore crabs are all the same, just different colouration. Orange and green are found in the same places, the same crab traps even, not just same regions, so it doesn't even appear to be adaptation to immediate surroundings or at least not a very reliable one. They both appear (at least somewhat more) greyish/dull coloured and dopey when they're peeling and are definitely exactly the same species. Males are distinguished from females by tail shape, though you won't likely find a female peeler that's not being carried by a male hardback while it peels (and it should be left to it, not taken, IMHO).

The edible/brown crab with it's orangey-brown kidney shaped body and black-tipped pincers does have a size limit (check local regs) and should never be taken if it's peeling or berried.
 

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The red colouration will be the **** shore crabs, the females tend to be more green. Carriers ... peeling hens that are being carried by a **** are fair game to be honest .... for every crab you actually see there will be at least a couple of million you don't so you won't be threatening them with extinction! When the hen is being carried the correct way up then it will be a peeler (ie not yet shed its shell) and when it is upside down it will already have peeled ... shore crabs need one of the pair to have a soft shell to mate so the cocks carry a peeling female to secure a mate ... after the hen has peeled she needs to be carried upside down to effect mating ... hence its easy to tell if she is a peeler or a softy when being carried. I seem to remember reading that peeling cocks are also carried by larger hens for the same reasons but don't ever remember finding any, even when I collected bait for a living.


My advice is leave them alone when peeled and carried upside down ... not for the benefit of the species but more because softies are generally not as good a bait as peelers - saying that they are still better than nothing.

The bit you sex them with is called the tail flap ... this picture is from a US site but the shapes are the same as you will see on our shore crabs.

 

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we get alot of dark red some almost black shore crab locally called red runners. i found they tent to peel later than the greeny colored ones. i'll get a pic when i go down in the morning if i remember. caught plenty fish on both color types.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Cheers for your help everyone but I'm worried about the shore crap that has a orange body ? I don't know how true it is but the orange body shore crabs can only be used in Suffolk ??
 

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only way is to use it and see what happens it doesn't make a blind bit of difference down this way as long as they have loads of custard coming out of em when whipped on that will do in my eyes
 

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Provided the crab does not have the characteristic kidney shape or hairy legs of an edible crab it is a shore crab.


The following is based on a very good research paper that specifically looks at why male crabs delay or choose not to peel and the colour changes associated with that choice.

Usually "red" crabs are male although some old females will also be "red".

It is a consequence of a choice or circumstance when the peeling event is missed or delayed.

In the case of males; by delaying peeling the male has a greater chance of mating with females while its opponents are hiding waiting for their shells to harden.
Dealying or stopping peeling also builds muscle within the claw appendages which helps when fighting for the females.

Female "reds" may have missed the chance to peel and the chemicals accruing within their bodies turn the shell colour from orange to red.
The same chemicals accrue in the males affecting their shell colour but as stated males can deliberatly delay peeling.

On a personal note

I dont know who told you that "reds" can only be used in Suffolk. I have collected peeling reds from Norfolk, Suffolk and Cornwall and have used specimens from those counties in the other counties to good effect.

hope this helps
 

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Just found the paper so will include the abstract:

Frequency of moulting by shore crabs Carcinus maenas (L.) changes their colour and their success in mating and physiological performance (Review)

Styrishave, B. , Rewitz, K., Andersen, O.


Male shore crabs, Carcinus maenas [Linnaeus, 1758], compete aggressively for access to receptive females to mate. Size is the single most important factor for the outcome of these conflicts, large males with carapace width (CW) over 60 mm being much more likely to gain access to receptive females than smaller males. To compete aggressively, large male shore crabs decrease moulting frequencies and may potentially terminate moulting to enter a state of anecdysis, in which further growth is suspended to increase reproductive output. This change from a "growth" strategy to a "reproduction" strategy results in the creation of two morphs, which can roughly be separated by their colouration. As the new exoskeleton created during moult is always green in appearance, crabs tend to be green in appearance during periods where they grow rapidly and moult frequently. Green crabs are found in all size classes. However, as the exoskeleton becomes older, the colour gradually changes to a darker red colour, and large crabs that have spent an extended period in intermoult are therefore often red in appearance. Also, the exoskeleton of red crabs exhibits a higher incidence of epibionts and wear and tear. Red crabs can also be found in all size classes, but their relative proportion in the population increases dramatically in size classes above 60-mm CW. Size for size, the red morph has a thicker carapace and larger master chelae than the green morph. Also, the reproductive indices (RI) for red crabs are higher than for green crabs, and they experience higher mating success. However, this mating success appears to be achieved at the expense of a lower physiological tolerance, green crabs being better adapted to deal with changes in the surrounding environment. This increased tolerance is not only observed with regard to natural variations in the habitats where shore crabs live, but green crabs also appear to be more tolerant to variations caused by anthropogenic pollution. Consequently, the shift from growth to reproduction exerts a profound effect on the behaviour, physiology and ecotoxicology of male shore crabs. The present paper reviews the studies conducted so far, proposes a mechanism by which some of these differences between the two morphs are created and discusses their ecological and ecotoxicological significance. © 2004 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.
 

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The following is based on a very good research paper that specifically looks at why male crabs delay or choose not to peel and the colour changes associated with that choice.

Usually "red" crabs are male although some old females will also be "red".

It is a consequence of a choice or circumstance when the peeling event is missed or delayed.

In the case of males; by delaying peeling the male has a greater chance of mating with females while its opponents are hiding waiting for their shells to harden.
Dealying or stopping peeling also builds muscle within the claw appendages which helps when fighting for the females.

Female "reds" may have missed the chance to peel and the chemicals accruing within their bodies turn the shell colour from orange to red.
The same chemicals accrue in the males affecting their shell colour but as stated males can deliberatly delay peeling.


hope this helps
very interesting ... and explains the problems I often had with red peelers. As a pro I learnt very quickly that even if they had formed the new shell red crabs would take forever to get to a useful peeler stage and fridge mortality went through the roof. Obviously they were "holding back".

Cheers, you just switched on a little light bulb :thumbs:
 

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The red colouration will be the **** shore crabs, the females tend to be more green. Carriers ... peeling hens that are being carried by a **** are fair game to be honest .... for every crab you actually see there will be at least a couple of million you don't so you won't be threatening them with extinction! When the hen is being carried the correct way up then it will be a peeler (ie not yet shed its shell) and when it is upside down it will already have peeled ... shore crabs need one of the pair to have a soft shell to mate so the cocks carry a peeling female to secure a mate ... after the hen has peeled she needs to be carried upside down to effect mating ... hence its easy to tell if she is a peeler or a softy when being carried. I seem to remember reading that peeling cocks are also carried by larger hens for the same reasons but don't ever remember finding any, even when I collected bait for a living.


My advice is leave them alone when peeled and carried upside down ... not for the benefit of the species but more because softies are generally not as good a bait as peelers - saying that they are still better than nothing.

The bit you sex them with is called the tail flap ... this picture is from a US site but the shapes are the same as you will see on our shore crabs.


I thought it was the other way round meaning the reddish orange ones are females and the dark green ones are males???? I'm no expert but when purchasing peelers from a dealer it's common sense to pick the male rather than females and the way i go about it is to avoid the reddish orangey ones no matter how much bigger they are compared to the dark green ones. Somebody shed some light here please!
 

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And one more thing...who says softies are not as good as peelers?? I would never turn down a big male softie and would not swap it for a big orange (female) peeler triple the size.
 

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I thought it was the other way round meaning the reddish orange ones are females and the dark green ones are males???? I'm no expert but when purchasing peelers from a dealer it's common sense to pick the male rather than females and the way i go about it is to avoid the reddish orangey ones no matter how much bigger they are compared to the dark green ones. Somebody shed some light here please!
There are orangey red colour morphs of male and female green shore crabs.

For the reasons highlighted in the abstract above the majority of "red" crabs are male.

As an aside, another paper indicates that shore crabs have a finite number of moults (in the case of shore crabs, 18 is quoted) before dying.
This expalins why big male and female crabs are often red as they can no longer moult.

Some male crabs prevent moulting to promote reproduction.
To compete aggressively, large male shore crabs decrease moulting frequencies and may potentially terminate moulting to enter a state of anecdysis, in which further growth is suspended to increase reproductive output.
From the above it makes little sense for a female to prevent moulting in favour of reproduction. Crab eggs can only be fertilised when the female is "soft"; preventing moulting would effectively prevent reproduction.

The characteristic green colouration of shore crabs is at its best just after moulting.
This is because there has been no time for the chemicals responsible for the discolouration of the shell to accumulate within the newly moulted body/ shell.


If I were choosing my peeler and there were big red males in the tray I would be choosing them for the simple reason they would represent bettter value for money. Bigger bait equates to more baits from one crab.

As long as they ooze juice when hooked I dont mind the colour or for that matter sex.
 

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Provided the crab does not have the characteristic kidney shape or hairy legs of an edible crab it is a shore crab.


The following is based on a very good research paper that specifically looks at why male crabs delay or choose not to peel and the colour changes associated with that choice.

Usually "red" crabs are male although some old females will also be "red".

It is a consequence of a choice or circumstance when the peeling event is missed or delayed.

In the case of males; by delaying peeling the male has a greater chance of mating with females while its opponents are hiding waiting for their shells to harden.
Dealying or stopping peeling also builds muscle within the claw appendages which helps when fighting for the females.

Female "reds" may have missed the chance to peel and the chemicals accruing within their bodies turn the shell colour from orange to red.
The same chemicals accrue in the males affecting their shell colour but as stated males can deliberatly delay peeling.

On a personal note

I dont know who told you that "reds" can only be used in Suffolk. I have collected peeling reds from Norfolk, Suffolk and Cornwall and have used specimens from those counties in the other counties to good effect.

hope this helps
Up in the north east we call the orange coloured crabs ( doggers)
 
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