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are about to "peel" their hard outer shell. The paper-thin new shell makes the crab very easy to eat, providing a delicacy to diners without the work of picking the sweet, white meat from a typically hard shell.

Pink Sign
is a pink dot that appears on a crab's back fin about a week before it begins to molt. It is the appearance of a new shell inside the one the crab is about to shed.

describes a crab that is emerging from its old shell.

have emerged from their old shells and now have a very thin, soft shell. Soft-shells are delicacies that are eagerly awaited by crab lovers each season. Soft-shell season is marked by the first full moon in May. It continues through early fall.

crabs are soft-shells whose shells have stiffened some.

crabs are at a stage following paper-shell when the shell is starting to harden but is still pliable.

have hardened shells, usually within 4 days after shedding.

Sponge Crab
is a female crab that has an egg mass on her abdomen. Sponge crabs cannot be harvested so as to ensure many productive crab harvests in the future.

is a crab that is big enough to keep, usually at least 5 inches.

Doublers (also Buck and Rider)
are two mating crabs, moving as a unit, with the male above and female below.

is the art of eating a steamed hard-shell crab.

are the largest pieces of meat from the body, adjacent to the backfin. The most expensive form of crabmeat.

is the white body meat including lump and large flakes. Used for crab cakes and crab imperial.

are flakes of white body meat other than lump. Good for crab cakes, soups, casseroles and dips.

Claw meat
is brownish meat from the claws. Best for soups and dips, its the least expensive type of crab meat.