13+ Different Types of Crabs You Might Not Have Seen Before (With Pictures)

Snow crabs

Crabs are considered one of the tastiest seafood. Crabs types varying through sizes, forms, and specie as well as their habitat; which invariably affects their flavor.

This information is expedient to connoisseurs should they desire to give their customers the best experience. Some of these crabs include the giant snow crabs or king crabs with long spiky legs and claws, the Dungeness crabs, and the blue crabs.

Crabs come from the crustacean family, with over 4,500 species in existence. They have a size range of 0.27 inches to 12 feet (from claw to claw), depending on the specie. These crustaceans have an omnivorous diet but major on fungi, algae, bacteria, mollusks, worms, and perhaps any other crustacean that crosses their path.

13+ Different Types of Crabs

Analysis of some of these crabs are as follows;

1. The King Crab

King Crab

King crabs (Paralithodes camtschaticus) are counted as one of the best and most common types of edible crabs because of their large size and delightful taste. These crabs are recorded among the largest species of crabs in the world.

Red King crabs are mainly found and caught in cold North Pacific seas close to Alaska, including the Norton Sound and the Bering Sea.

The Red King crab is so big that it measures measure up to 11” (28 cm) across and weighs nearly 13 kg. The Red King crab’s legs span up to 5 ft. (1.8 m) housing much of its tasty white meat.

The Blue King Crab (Paralithodes platypus) is yet another type of huge Alaskan king crab. It is not as impressive in size as the Red King crab, as it weighs over 8.2 kg (18 lbs).

2. Snow (Rock) Crab

The Snow crabs (Chionoecetes opilio) are also rock crabs and are another type of Alaskan crab with long legs. This specie of crabs is also found within the cold seas around Alaska and North Atlantic Ocean.

The Snow crab has a dark-brown color and can grow up to 7 inches across. This crab is eaten for its tasty white meat housed within its legs and claws which can be cracked open to extract the meat, unlike some others.

3. The Blue Crab


Blue crabs (Callinectes sapidus) large-sized crabs which like the name suggests have blue colored shells and legs. They are found mainly in the waters around the Gulf of Mexico, Europe, Japan, and the East Coast of the US.

Blue crabs are swimming crabs having double paddle-like feet to aid it to swim. Its Latin name translates to  ‘beautiful swimmer.’ These swimming crabs can grow to 3.5 to 5.5 inches in sizes and at times more.

While cooking the Blue crab its shell turn to a distinct deep red color quite common to most cooked crustaceans and Its meat taste can be described as salty-sweet. Most of its meat is housed within its body, legs, and claws.

Another distinguishing feature of the Blue crab apart from the blue color of its shell is its distinctive body shape. Rather than having a normal round carapace shape, the sides protrude to a degree.

Blue crabs are served as soft-shelled foods, usually, consumed whole sautéed or deep-fried.

4. Bairdi Crabs

Bairdi Crabs

Bairdi crabs have five pairs of very specialized legs, a short tail, a carapace body shape, and a small abdominal flap. The first pair of its legs house pincers.

Bairdi crabs are also known “true” crabs and have pincer claws in front of their legs. Recently, the Bairdi crabs population has dwindled because of overfishing, and this resulted in strict controls being placed over fisheries that specialize in their trade.

Of all Snow crab varieties, the Bairdi crabs are by far the largest and can be served either steamed, boiled, grilled,  or even roasted.

5. Coconut Crabs

Coconut Crabs

Coconut Crabs (Birgus latro) are also known by robber crabs or as palm thief. The coconut crab is recorded as the largest land-living arthropod worldwide, weighing up to 9 lbs and a span of 16 inches and Its can cover legs can cover about 3 feet. However, it takes about forty to sixty years to reach their maximum size.

Their love for coconuts is the reason for the name Coconut crabs and they will go as far as climbing the trees to get them.

A Coconut crabs diet includes meat, fruits, nuts, and seeds, however, they cannot survive underwater for prolonged periods otherwise they’ll drown. They mostly inhabit territories around the Indian and Pacific oceans and have only two predators which are humans and other Coconut crabs.

6. Peekytoes Crabs

Peekytoes Crabs

The Peekytoe crab (Cancer irroratus) is more of a brown rock crab specie. They inhabit the cold waters of the Atlantic Ocean. This crab is set out from others by the brown color of its hard shell and the purplish spots on it.

The Peekytoe crab is a medium-sized crab compared to others.  Its carapace shaped shell can cover up to 5.25 inches (13 cm) in diameter. It also processes small chelae the Florida Stone crab.

Another popular name for this seafood delicacy is the Atlantic rock crab

7. Dungeness Crabs

Dungeness Crabs

Dungeness crabs are very large crabs that weigh between 1.75 to 4 lbs and have purplish-brown coloration. They can be seen within the waters between the Baja area of Mexico and Alaska. The Dungeness crabs were named after a town formerly found in the State of Washington.

A law guides the harvest of the Dungeness crabs, as only the males are to be harvested and they must have achieved a minimum length of 6.25 inches.

Dungeness crabs have five separate pairs of legs and a very tough shell. These crabs are mainly caught using baited pots, hooks and lines, nets, and also with your hands.

Dungeness crabs have a life span of about ten years, and are popular among eateries because of the great taste of their succulent pink flesh and are prime during the Winter season.

8. Horseshoe Crabs

Horseshoe Crabs

The Horseshoe Crabs are named so because they look like a Horseshoe.  These are one of the oldest types of crabs as they have existed for over 500-million years. These crabs inhabit the Atlantic coast between Yucatan and Nova Scotia, Asian coasts, India, and the Philippines. Although they are edible and quite tasty, they do not have much flesh.

You can easily find Horseshoe crabs along the sandy beaches of Florida. They have a spike-like tail many people consider to be dangerous, even though it is harmless. However, you should not pick up Horseshoe crabs by the tail as you would not want to harm them. These Crabs have ten eyes which brings them closer to be relatives of scorpions, ticks, or even spiders.

9. Hermit Crabs

Hermit Crabs

The Hermit crabs (Brachyura infraorderare) yet another type of crab. However, they are mainly kept as pets by children due to their small size and the fact that they are much fun to play with. There are over 1,100 species of Hermit crabs, categorized in seven crab families. They tend to live in gastropod shells to protect their soft abdomen as they grow. These shells also give them refuge from predators.

Hermit crabs take their shells very seriously and are even known to kill other Hermit crabs to acquire their shell. The life span of Hermit crabs ranges from a few months to thirty years. Hermit crabs are quite social in the wild and tend to live in colonies.

10. Southern European Crabs

Source: Wikipedia

Southern European crab (Potamon fluviatile) another edible freshwater crab. This is a type of green crab that is mainly found within the rivers and streams of Italy, Balkans, and Greece.

Compared to seawater crabs, the Southern European crab is quite tiny in size. It covers an average span of about 2inches (5 cm) and has been a popular food source for over a hundred years.

The European green crabs are now seen as an invasive species in North America. They are prepared by boiling and have a rich sweet taste.

11. The Brown Crabs

Brown Crabs

The Brown crabs (Cancer Pagurus) are a type of edible crab having a reddish-brown shell, claws, and legs. They are very similar to the Florida Stone crab. These crabs are among the most popular crab varieties native to the United Kingdom.

They are medium-sized crabs varieties spanning between 6 to 9 inches (about 15 to 22 cm) wide. One adult brown crab may weigh over 6.6 lbs (3 kg) with more than one-third of its weight as flesh.

Brown crabs have an oval, pie crust shaped body. The taste of the crab’s meat depends largely on the sex of the crustacean. The brown meat of the female crab has a rich flavor while the white male has a sweeter flavor.

12. The Florida Stone Crabs

Florida Stone Crabs

The Florida Stone crabs (Menippe mercenaria) are another very common type of marine crab. These crabs are native to the warm waters of Central America and the East Coast of the United States.

A feature that makes the Florida Stone crab distinguishable from others is the large pincers at the forefront of its body. These brownish-red colored, black-tipped claws are the same color as its tough shell. This crab spans about 6.5inches (17 cm) in width, putting it between a medium and large-sized crab.

Rather than prepare the whole crab, only one claw is pulled off to cook. The crabs are then released into the ocean to regenerate a new claw over the cause of 18 months.

The only meat in the Florida Stone crab is within its large claws which is pulled off to be consumed. The meat extracted from the claws is tasty, succulent, and has a firm texture. Because the claws are very hard, you practically need a mallet to crack it open to extract to the meat.

13. The Horsehair Crabs

Horsehair Crabs

The Horsehair crabs (Erimacrus isenbeckii) are a common variety of crab used in Japanese cuisine. They are brown-orange, with a bumpy shell texture, light orange dots, and spiky hairs that cover their entire body.

Horsehair crabs are a native to the Alaska and Northern Japan waters. They range between small and medium-sized crabs. These crab type houses a large mass of meat within its body and is prepared by basically boiling it in saltwater. The meat of the Horsehair crab tastes sweet and delicate and is thus regarded as one of the best-tasting crabs.

14. The Japanese Spider Crabs

Japanese Spider Crabs

The Japanese Spider crabs (Macrocheira kaempferi) are a scary-looking crab bunch. They have the longest legs among crabs, much like that of spiders.

The Japanese Spider crabs are crab giants spanning over 16 inches (40 cm). Their legs cover a length of over  18 ft. (5.5 m) and weigh almost 42 lbs (19 kg).

Rather than fear these crabs, the Japanese harvest them for their tasty meat. Compared to other crabs the spider crab has the sweetest tasting meat. Hence goes with the saying; the rewards worths the risk.