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5 Biggest Crabs in the World – Description and Facts

by Fitriani Putri

Do you know what the biggest crabs in the world are? Maybe you do, maybe you don’t. There are numerous kinds of crabs found in the world. Some are small while some are big. Meanwhile there are others which are considered to be extraordinarily large and incredible. 

Find out some cool facts about the biggest crabs on Earht right in this article, the last one is the biggest one that’s ever found on the planet. 

1. The Snow Crab (Chionoecetes opilio)

The Snow crab is a big one, found in the cold water of the Atlantic and the Pacific Ocean. The males are able to grow up to 16.5 cm. Meanwhile, the female Snow crabs tend to grow a bit smaller, measuring only up to 9.5 cm. There are more types of Atlantic Ocean crabs you can discover.

They have 5 pair of legs, 4 are made for walking while a pair is their claws. The Snow crabs can live for around 20 years.  Recently, a Snow crab was sold for $46,000 in Tottori, Japan. The auction marked the first day of the crab fishing season. The snow crab weighed 1.2 kg, hailed for its impressive body shape and thick legs. 

If you’re wondering what Snow crabs look like, let’s have a look at their colours. The Snow crabs are mainly brown. There’s a hint of light red on their top shell. Their bottom shell is dominantly yellowish-white. 

As for their legs, they are bright white just like their meat which is why the crabs are called ‘snow’. Moreover, Snow crabs have green or greenish-blue eyes. They are related to king crabs, one of the biggest crabs in the world which you will find out more later in this article. 

The Snow crabs are considered as a delicacy due to their fleshy meat and sweetness. Even though climate change gives a negative impact on the oceans, apparently it makes it easier for people to catch the snow crabs. The common method is trawling since the adverse effect of fishing on sea with bombs would be too damaging.

2. Tasmanian Giant Crab (Pseudocarcinus gigas)

Next is the Tasmanian giant crab, one of the biggest crabs in the world and one of the common types of ocean crabs. Reportedly, its size can reach up to 80 m. The female Tasmanian giant crabs are two times smaller than the male ones. 

An easy way to identify a Tasmanian giant crab is by its claws. The males have one oversized claw while both of the female claws are normal in size. The colour of the Tasmanian giant crab is dominantly red. Its bottom part is whitish-yellow and the tips of the claws are covered in black. 

Unlike the snow crab who loves the deep, cold water, the Tasmanian giant crab prefers and muddy areas. It is easily found in Southern Australia. Here’s a fun fact about the Tasmanian giant crab, it eats small-moving species like starfish but they also have the tendency to cannibalism.

3. Coconut Crab (Birgus latro)

You probably have an idea of what this crab is from its name alone. But don’t get it wrong, the Coconut crabs don’t really eat coconut. They just love to climb palm and coconut trees with their large legs. 

The Coconut crabs can grow up to 1m in length. They have the ability to smell things which helps them to find their food. Their diet consists of nuts, fruits, seeds, parts of trees and organic matter. They are nicknamed as ‘robber crab’ due to their habit of carrying away any items that they can grab. 

An interesting fact about this particular one of the biggest crabs in the world is that they would drown in seawater if they stay for too long. The Coconut crabs actually live among rocks and local land, making burrows with coconut husk. Find out more about the coastal ecosystem and how they support marine lives.

4. Red King Crab (Paralithodes camtschaticus)

Let’s find out more another biggest crabs in the world, that is the Red King crabs. They’re also known as Alaskan King crab, found in the Bering Sea, Gulf of Alaska and the Barents Sea. The gigantic range of the Red King crab is 1.5 m to 1.8 m. Similar to most crabs, the males are larger than the females. 

Fishermen in the world often search for the Red King crab due to their size. It’s expensive and delicious to consume. However, it is notoriously difficult to catch.

The adult Red King crabs prefer to stay in the deep water. They live 200m down of the sand and muddy areas of the sea. During the mating season, the Red King crabs would move to shallower water to mate. Once the season is over, they would back down to the deep water to find food.

5. Japanese Spider Crab (Macrocheira kaempferi)

The title for the biggest crabs in the world is held by the Japanese Spider crabs. They live in the waters surrounding Japan in the depth of 300 m, one of the deepest seas in the world. The colour of their body is orange and their legs are white with spots. Their size is around 4 m.

The Japanese Spider crab have monster legs and their body structure is similar to that of spiders, hence their name. Apparently, they have a bad vision but they do have good hearing. 

These crabs are able to camouflage themselves to avoid predators. The method is also known as crypsis. Their diet includes dead fish, algae, shellfish – anything really because they’re omnivores. 

An amazing fact about this monster species is that they can live for 100 hundred years. The mating season is between January and March. The female Japanese Spider crab is able to lay over 1.5 million eggs per season. But only a few of those eggs will survive. Once they hatch, the young Japanese Spider crabs are left to fend for themselves in their habitat.

Which crab is the most impressive, biggest crabs in the world after reading this article? There’s always something new and fascinating to learn about crabs. Who knows, someday a larger species of crab could appear and leave us in awe.

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