Callinectes sapidus is easily identified by its body color which is generally a bright blue along the frontal area, especially along the chelipeds (the appendages bearing a "chela" or pincher-like claw). The remainder of the body is shaded an olive brown color. To accommodate swimming, the fifth leg is adapted to a paddle-like shape, as is the same with other portunids. Females have broad triangular or rounded aprons and red fingers on the chelae, whereas in the male the abdominal flap, or apron, is shaped like an inverted "T". Callinectes sapidus can grow to 25 cm in carapace length (CL), with carapace width being approximately twice the length. Growth is rapid during the first summer, with crabs growing from 70-100 mm CL. By the second year, maturity is reached at carapace lengths of 120-170 mm. Callinectes sapidus grows to adult size after 18 to 20 molts.
Range length: 120 to 170 mm.
Other Physical Features: ectothermic ; heterothermic
Sexual Dimorphism: male larger; sexes colored or patterned differently; male more colorful