Atlantic Ghost Crab
Also known as the sand crab, the Atlantic ghost crab is a sand-colored crustacean with a distinct pair of white claws. Ghost crabs are active on coastal beaches in the Chesapeake Bay region from spring through autumn.
Barnacles are small, grayish-white crustaceans that live on rocks, pilings, boat hulls and other hard surfaces throughout the Chesapeake Bay.
Black-Fingered Mud Crab
Also known as the Atlantic mud crab, the black-fingered mud crab is muddy brown in color with stout, black-tipped claws. It can be found on oyster reefs and along the muddy bottoms of marshes.
The blue crab is a swimming crustacean with bright blue claws and an olive green shell. It is one of the most recognizable species in the Chesapeake Bay.
Chinese Mitten Crab
The Chinese mitten crab is a light brown crustacean with a distinct pair of hairy, white-tipped claws. Native to East Asia, the invasive species has been reported in small numbers in the Chesapeake Bay.
Common Grass Shrimp
The common grass shrimp has a delicate, nearly transparent body with a distinctive serrated “horn” over the eyes. It lives in shallow waters throughout the Chesapeake Bay and its rivers.
Common Spider Crab
Also known as the portly spider crab or the nine-spined spider crab, the common spider crab is a long-legged and slow-moving crustacean that covers itself in algae and small debris as a defense against predators.
The deer tick—named for its preferred host, the white-tailed deer—can carry and transmit to humans the bacteria that causes Lyme disease. Ticks are most active in late spring and summer.
The devil crayfish is a brownish red crustacean that resembles a miniature lobster. They typically have red-tipped claws. They can be found burrowing in forested areas where the water table is near the surface.
Fairy shrimp are relatively large and slow-moving crustaceans that live in vernal pools throughout the Chesapeake Bay watershed.
Fiddler crabs are small crustaceans with a distinctive enlarged claw. They live on beaches, mud flats and marshes throughout the Chesapeake Bay.
Hermit crabs are small crustaceans that lack a shell and must “borrow” one from another animal. They live on beaches, mud flats and shallow waters throughout the lower Chesapeake Bay.
The horseshoe crab is a primitive-looking arthropod with a hard, brownish-green exoskeleton and a spike-like tail. It visits the Chesapeake Bay’s sandy beaches each spring and summer to spawn.
The mantis shrimp is a crustacean with a flattened, segmented body and praying mantis-like claws. It burrows within muddy flats along the shoreline of the middle and lower Chesapeake Bay.
The marsh crab is a small shore crab that lives in salt and brackish marshes in the middle and lower Chesapeake Bay.