Crabs are scientifically known as Brachyura. There are more than a 6000 types of crabs and at least 850 different species that belongs to about 93 families of Arthropods, some of crab species are the largest arthropods. If you are interested to know more about crabs, you have come to the right place. Since there are over a thousand species of crabs, in todays post we have rounded up the most common types of crabs.
Different Types Of Crabs
The types of crabs varies with size, form, habitat and specie, that can somehow affect the flavor of the crab. Though crabs are still considered a delicious food regardless of how each crabs vary. Most of the crabs have an exoskeleton (hard outer shell), have 3 walking legs found on each side of the body and have 2 pinching claws.
Most of the crabs live in cold saltwater. Others like to live on warm sea, which others inhabit on fresh water while the rest settle on the land.
The guide below will show you more information of the most popular and common types of crabs that you can eat as well as those that are rarely eaten.
King Crabs (Paralithodes Camtschaticus)
King Crabs are one of the best and considered to be the most common type of crabs. From the name itself, these are crabs with large size with a flavorful taste that is why it is one of the best edible crabs. Also, King crabs are the largest crabs in the entire globe.
There are two types of King crabs: Red king crab and Blue king Crab, another type of Alaskan King Crab. Red King crab measures up to 11 inches and weighs approximately 13 kg, while Blue King crab (Alaskan King Crab) on the other hand just weight approximately 8.2 kg.
Snow Crab (Cancer Quanbumi)
Snow Crabs are also known as Rock crabs. Mostly found in Alaska and Atlantic Ocean as they love to settle in cold seas.
A type of Alaskan crab with long legs. Because of their long spindly legs, they are sometimes called spider crabs as the legs resembles like a spider.
Snow crab is ometimes called Queen Crabs too because of the long legs, however the legs are quite shorter than King crab’s legs.
Another popular crab to cook and eat although Snow crab are quiet expensive. Why is that so? Simply because they are rare to find and can only be harvested in places like Alaska, Japan, Maine and Canada.
Blue Crab (Calinectes Sapidus)
Blue crab is also known as Chesapeake or also called Beautiful swimmer. As the name presents, these crabs are named Blue crab because of is blue colored legs and shells. Blue crabs are large sized crabs that grows between 3.5 to 5.5 inches to a maximum of about 9 inches (width).
Blue crab does not only tastes good when eaten, but are beautiful to look at as well. Though despite being large, it has little meat in it. You might need more of these crabs on your food table to be full.
Blue crab is commonly found in the east coast of the US and can also be found in the Atlantic Coast, Gulf of Mexico and several parts of Argentina.
A member of the Snow crab specie, Bairdi crabs are unique. It has 10 legs (five pairs on each side), short tail, shell body shape, abdominal flap and two pincer claws in front of its legs.
Another edible crabs that you can cook in different ways. You can steam, grill, boil, sautéed and roast Bairdi crabs.
Bairdi crabs taste like sweet but with a mild saline Alaskan aroma, where these crabs are from. The meat on each legs and its claws are fibrous but in a way tender. These crabs are expensive because of higher demand and also because they are found off the coast of Alaska at 36 to 340 meters depths. Therefore lesser supply with higher demand would definitely increase the price.
Coconut Crab (Birgus latro)
Coconut crabs are also known as Robber Crabs or Palm Thief. Considered to be the largest terrestrial specie and the largest arthropod in the whole world. Coconut crabs measures up to 16 inches in width and weighs about 9 pounds. Its legs can cover for up to 3 feet. However, coconut crab reach its maximum weight and height in about 40 to 60 years.
Coconut crabs are called coconut crab because of their love for coconuts as their food, these crabs would like at coconut trees to look for food. They also love to eat other things as well such as nuts and fruits.
Unlike most of the crabs, coconut crabs do not live within a shell. More like hermit crab wherein they would also use empty shells to move in for protection and for living inside.
Coconut crabs can be found in Indo-Pacific locations and are found mostly off coast of Africa and Eastern Pacific Ocean.
Peekytoe Crab (Cancer Irroratus)
Peekytoe Crab is a brown rock crab specie. It is also known for as Atlantic Rock crab.
These Atlantic rock crab can be easy to identify because of its unique hard shell that is brown and with purplish spots. It is a medium sized crab that measures up to 5.25 inches in diameter.
Dungeness Crab (Cancer magister)
Dungeness crabs are large crabs that weighs approximately 1.75 lbs. for up to 4 lbs. Dungeness crab distinguishing feature is that it has a purple to brown coloration.
A popular seafood delicacy that most chefs love to cook. Although a law states that Dungeness crab must only be harvested when they reach a length of 6.25 inches and it should only be male that must be harvested. To distinguish between a male and a female Dungeness crab, take a look at the underside of the crab. It is female if the abdomen is wide and rounded, while on the other hand, it is a male crab if the abdomen is narrow.
Horseshoe crabs are named as such because it basically looks like a Horseshoe. These types of crabs can grow up to 24 inches long and up to 12 inches wide. Can weigh in about 1-2 kilograms.
These types of crabs can be found across Eastern Pacific oceans and Atlantic oceans. They prefer to inhabit in shallow waters as they are not fond of deep waters. These crabs can survive outside the water for a longer period of time as long as their grills are still moist.
Keep in mind though that Horseshoe crabs tails have a spike , you need to be extra careful when picking up these type of crabs so as not to harm them.
Horseshoe crabs has 10 eyes which makes them closely related to spider, scorpions and ticks.
Hermit Crab (Brachyura Infraorderare)
The Hermit crab is another type of crab. Although named as crabs, they are not actually true crabs as they bear a resemblance to lobsters. A true crab has an exoskeleton that is hard and grows as their own shell, while hermit crabs has an exoskeleton but only on the front portion while the tail is soft.
Crab’s shell provides the crab protection for its exoskeleton, without the shell crabs are vulnerable to light, heat and air. Crabs will die without this protection. They mostly live on land and would hunt for empty shells to move into for protection.
These crabs are usually kept as pets and are found mostly sold in fish stores. They make pretty great family pets. When properly taken cared of, hermit crabs can last for months to a year.
Southern European Crab (Potamon Fluviatile)
Southern European Crabs are a type of green crab. These are edible freshwater crab mostly found on rivers and streams in Greece, Italy and Balkans.
Although these are edible crabs, they do not make the most appealing meal because of its tiny size. It usually measure to only up to 2 inches.
Brown Crab (Cancer Pagurus)
Another type of edible crabs that can be easily distinguish because of its reddish to brownish color all over its entire body (shell, claws and legs). In the UK, Brown crabs are widely popular crabs.
Brown crabs are medium sized crabs that measures between 6 to 9 inches and weighs of up to 3kg (adult crab) bearing at least 1/3 of its weight as flesh.
Unlike other crabs, brown crab has an oval shaped body. When it comes to eating brown crab, the taste of its meat depends on the sex of the crab you are eating. Female brown crabs has a more rich taste flavor as compared to the meat of white male crabs which has a sweet taste of its meat.
Florida Stone Crab (Menippe Mercenaria)
Florida Stone crab is another marine crab. These crabs inhabit warm waters in the East coast of the US and Central America even though they are named as Florida Stone Crabs.
A recognizable feature that distinguishes Florida stone crab from other type of crabs are its large pincers location at the front of their body. The tipped claws are mostly brownish, reddish and black colored claws. More like the same color as its entire body. Considered to be between a medium-sized and a large-sized crab as it can grow up to 6.5 inches in diameter.
An interesting fact about Florida stone crab is its capacity to grow back its claws when it is pulled off. To cook these type of crab, you only need to use its claws. Which means, you need to pull its claws off for it to be consumed. The meat on its claws are delicious, has a firm texture and somehow tastes like a lobster and shrimp. Claws of these crabs are very hard, you might need to use a mallet to crack and open it to get the meat.
Japanese Spider Crab (Macrocheira Kaempferi)
These are scary looking crabs because of its 10 long legs, considered to be the longest legs amongst all other crabs. The bodies of Japanese Spider crab can reach up to 16 inches in height for up to 18 inches when legs are added. Japanese Spider crabs are giant crabs that also weighs up to 19 kilograms.
Japanese Spider crab inhabit in cold water mostly found in the Pacific coast of Japan. And can strive at a depth between 164 to 1,640 feet and with a temperature of 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
In summary, from the list above the most commonly eaten crabs are Blue crab, Dungeness crab, snow crab, King crab and Florida Stone crab. Whereas the largest crab in the world if the Japanese Spider crab. Blue crab, Coconut crabs and Hermit crabs are Land dwelling crabs. The rest of the crabs mentioned above are other common grab species.
We hope that this guide has helped you understand and learn the different types of crabs, and how they are distinguish and how they differ from one another.
- Different Types Of Crabs
- King Crabs (Paralithodes Camtschaticus)
- Snow Crab (Cancer Quanbumi)
- Blue Crab (Calinectes Sapidus)
- Bairdi Crab
- Coconut Crab (Birgus latro)
- Peekytoe Crab (Cancer Irroratus)
- Dungeness Crab (Cancer magister)
- Horseshoe Crab
- Hermit Crab (Brachyura Infraorderare)
- Southern European Crab (Potamon Fluviatile)
- Brown Crab (Cancer Pagurus)
- Florida Stone Crab (Menippe Mercenaria)
- Japanese Spider Crab (Macrocheira Kaempferi)