Upon hatching, Menippe mercenaria develops through five zoeal stages, which collectively make up the larval stage. These stages lasts between 14-27 days and are strongly dependent upon water temperature. The stone crab then develops into a post-larval stage that lasts between 1 and 2 weeks. During the larval and post-larval stages the stone crabs live among the zooplankton in nearshore waters. From the post-juvenile stage to when the carapace of the young crab develops to a width of 10 mm, the stone crab is considered to be a post-settlement juvenile. At this time they move away from the zooplankton into areas densely populated with other juvenile stone crabs. These places are usually seagrass beds or areas around emergent live rocks. It will then take the stone crab around 12 months to become a late juvenile, which is described as having a carapace width greater than 10 mm but less than 35 mm across. With a carapace width of 35 mm, the stone crab enters into adulthood.