Tim The Tune Man (Pritchett) was crabbing in Maryland today when he caught this crab oddity while running a trot line. A completely blue, blue claw crab. This is a rarity that happens none to often and usually only commercial crabbers catch them. Tim said “I heard that people let these go for luck so I did, and we did great today”. We call them blue crabs but they are not completely blue, but more of an olive color on the shell with blue claws and legs. When you steam them, no matter what color, they turn a delicious orange color. Tim also said they had one crab with a dime sized purple spot on its underside. I have heard of the occasional purple crab, but have never seen one.
On occasion and for some only once in a lifetime, a crabber will catch an albino crab or one of these full blue crabs. The all white crabs are albino crabs, but the blue ones are something else. Some scientists say the crabs are all blue due to a color variant or a parasite that affects the muscles and shell.
In an article by the Virginia Institute of Marine Science … “Professor Jeff Shields notes that purple coloration can be caused by a parasite that affects both the muscles and shell. He has seen this phenomenon “two or three times” in crabs from the Chesapeake Bay. Shields has also seen a rare orange coloration that is caused by a virus. He says that the “true-blue” blue crab appears to be a color variant and not an infection”. At least once a year I see one of these caught on the east coast and usually by a commercial crabber due to the volume of their catches. This is the first one I have seen caught by a recreational crabber, but that doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened before and it will happen again. I have yet to see a purple one but I have heard that color is possible as well.