Crabs are decapod crustaceans, and there are more than 6,000 species of them crawling and swimming around on this earth. Some crabs thrive in the ocean, some in freshwater, and others on land. There are teeny tiny crabs that are oh so cute that you barely even notice them, along with gigantic ones that are bigger than an adult human. Yes––this is true.
If you frequent the beach, no matter which one, you are bound to see some sort of crab species. They are tenacious, resilient, and interesting. And...they are delicious to eat.
The most popular crab species that the general population prefers to cook are the Dungeness Crab, King Crab, Stone Crab, Snow Crab, Peekytoe Crab, Horseshoe Crab, and the Blue Crab. That is not to say, however, that people don’t indulge in other types of crab. Technically, anything you catch, you can eat––unless it’s poisonous!
With all the variations of crabs skittering about, there are noteworthy ones we will share with you in this article, and this includes the world’s largest crab along with a few others.
The Japanese Spider Crab
This crab is considered the largest out of any species of crab. The Japanese spider crab is quite a sight to see, and if you end up encountering one off the coast of Japan, you might have a fright.
The Japanese spider crab is called taka-ashi-gani in Japan, which means “tall legs crags.”
According to National Geographic, they are one of the world’s largest arthropods, which is considered an animal with no backbone, external skeletons, and multiple-jointed appendages. And speaking of appendages, this big boy (or girl) has 10 spindly legs.
This crab can grow up to 18 feet from claw to claw, although they typically are between 12 and 14 feet, and weigh up to 40 pounds. This crab is considered a “gentle giant,” much like a whale shark. It may look ferocious, but looks can be deceiving. They aren’t great hunters or terrific predators, so they mostly nibble around the bottom of the ocean for small creatures or dead plants or algae.
The Japanese spider crab doesn’t look too digestible, but in Japan, they are considered a delicacy to eat––as are Fathom Seafood’s delicious geoduck clams! Due to the effort it takes to prepare this crab for a meal, it comes with a hefty menu price. Ordering Japanese spider crab at a restaurant (definitely not at Red Lobster), will put you back anywhere between $100 and $500!
You most likely will never encounter one of these intriguing creatures unless you are specifically looking for one off the coast of Japan or find a high-end restaurant that is serving it.
Tasmanian Giant Crab
This one is almost as large and in charge as the Japanese spider crab. The Tasmanian giant crab only gets up to 18 inches in length but can weigh almost 40 pounds! Think of it as the sumo wrestler of crabs. Just like many creepy crawlies, this sun-of-a-gun comes from Australia––more specifically, the muddy bottom of the Southern Australian Ocean.
The males are about twice the size of the females, so if you ever encounter a massive Tasmanian giant crab, it is more likely a male. Just don’t mess with a mama during mating season. Female Tasmanian giant crabs can carry between half a million to two million eggs––and she’ll protect her babies like no other.
Just like the Japanese spider crab, they are harvested and commercially caught to satiate local (and beyond) foodie’s cravings.
If you’re ever in Australia, you can seek out this fellow to play with underwater or to nibble on as a snack.
The Pea Crab
No, this crab is not one of the largest; on the contrary, it is the smallest crab in existence. This itty bitty thing is only a few millimeters long, or the size of a pea, obviously giving it its name. You can find the pea crab on both the Atlantic and Pacific coast in North America.
According to Scuba Diver Life, pea crabs are parasitic, meaning that they use other animals for survival, such as oysters or sea urchins, which provide them with safety, food, and oxygen. Sometimes people will find pea crabs living their best lives inside the gills of oysters. If you’re a regular oyster-eater, you might even find a live one scampering across your dinner plate one day. Yikes! What should you do with it if you find one? You might as well pop it straight into your mouth and eat it raw––it’s not like you can take it home as a pet.
Some Other Weird Ones
We’ll leave you with this list of interesting crab names:
- Moss Crab
- Heart Crab
- Green Shore Crab
- Graceful Decorator Crab
- Golf-Ball Crab
- Butterfly Crab
- Orange Hairy Hermit
- Sharpnose Crab
- Umbrella Crab
Hopefully, you learned a bit about a few unique and interesting crabs! You can use this information at your next trivia game––if they ask about crabs.