Males vs. Females

Because our special $24.99 half bushel of blue crabs contains both males and females, we’re often asked questions about the differences between the two. Keep reading to find out why some people may have a preference for one gender over the other.

Let’s start by taking a look at their physical differences. There are two ways to identify your crab as being either male or female including claw color and apron shape. First, take a look at the crab’s claws. Male crabs will have bright blue claws like the first picture below. Female crabs, however, have red tips on their claws like in the second picture. It’s easy to remember this distinction because, like humans, the females wear “red nail polish”.

Male blue crabs

Female blue crabs – Taken by Angel Perry

A second way to tell the difference between males and females is by the shape of their “apron”. If you look at a crab’s underside, there’s a flap with a distinct shape. This flap is referred to as the apron. Male blue crabs (Jimmies) have a long, pointy apron as seen in the first picture below. Mature females (Sooks) have a rounded apron as in the second picture below. You may also see crabs with triangle-shaped aprons. These are immature females and are called “v-bottoms”.

Male blue crab’s apron

Female blue crab’s apron

Still wondering why some prefer one over the other? Those who prefer males often do so because catching females is controversial in other some other states. Some states do not permit fishermen to keep females.  Don’t worry, though! It’s perfectly legal in North Carolina to keep and sell females because populations are plentiful here. Those who prefer females usually claim that their meat is sweeter. We want your opinion on it! Come try our special half bushels, use this guide to find a male and a female, and let us know if you can taste the difference in their meat.

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13 Responses to Males vs. Females

  1. says:

    Thank you for this image..looked all over trying to show my family the difference.

  2. Anindira says:

    Thanks …. Looks like it’s simple to differentiate…

  3. solerso says:

    People don’t like to pay the same price for females because they are usually lighter – girls usually have les meat on them and they hold more water . Here in Maryland , depending on the season, people will want some females too for the Roe. My dad was a waterman and I started working on the boat with him when I was 13. First day out he set me to work cawing crabs. That was fine except he told me one way to tell the difference and my older brother told me a different way – I got confused and when we took 30 bushels to sell to Gunning’s restaurant that evening they were PO’d cause I had them all mixed up – hey I was 13 and it was my first day.. That was the 70’s and maybe people were pickier then. Maybe its a regional thing. Looking back on it I think my brother did it to me on purpose. Good thing you show both ways on here! Too bad there was no internet in 1972.

  4. Yeace Aj says:

    I have a pet crab and I was wanting to know the gender. Thanks, this helped

  5. Bill brenneman says:

    thank you the kids and I got it. We ( I ) didn’t have a clue

  6. Wallace Lawrence says:

    According to NC DMF you cannot keep immature female blue crabs. DMF – Homepage

    (F) Mature female crabs are exempt from minimum size limit. It is illegal to possess immature female crabs at any time and it is illegal to possess dark sponge crabs from April 1-April 30.

  7. August lavecchio says:

    Like to let smal fem go the more crabs the beter feutchur ..for all

  8. NV Borneo says:

    What about pseudofemales? What are the shells like?

  9. Melissa says:

    Meat from the male blue crab is sweeter. When it comes to lobsters the meat from the female is sweeter.

  10. Bo Tibbs says:

    im now educated in the difference between male and female,also didnt know they were called jimmy(male) and soot(female).im headed to Annapolis to see my brother and his wife and we make a tradition of eating crabs,cant wait for it and a couple of baseball games.Go NATS.Bo

  11. Degonto islam says:

    Thank you for your nice answer

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