As my fellowship winds down I have been compiling data, making a field guide, making a story map, and collecting our traps. In addition, we have also switched over from only collecting males to only collecting females. As the Summer has progressed, females are now molting. We found about 5 or 6 soft shell females at Adam's Point Landing yesterday. Dr. Bradt will be continuing the work with the females for the remainder of the Summer.
So far we have had 27 molts out of 123 crabs that we put into individual containers. Of these 27, 5 were an orange coloration which was believed to be a terminal molt, however now we know that this isn't always the case. In addition, The size classes that grew the most were crabs with carapaces 1.8 and 2.2 inches prior to molting. There were 5 crabs in each size class that molted. On July 3rd and 4th we had the most crabs molt in one day. On both the 3rd and 4th, 4 crabs had molted. We think that this may have been because of the temperature, which was around 20 degrees Celsius.
Next year it would be interesting to put go pros in the large tanks so we could actually see the molting process happen. Also, I was asked how many times a Summer green crabs molt and I wasn't sure about the answer. An idea for next Summer is to keep the molted crabs in the tanks and see if they molt again instead of release them or cook them like we did.
Thank you to NH Sea Grant and the Doyle Fellowship for an awesome experience! Can't wait to see soft shell green crabs on the menu one day!