Overview of Types of Crabs Around the United States
You can find many types of delicious crabs around the United States but for this blog we are going to focus on five of the more common ones. These varieties are definitely well known.
We will give you a brief overview of the following types of crabs: dungeness, stone, snow, king, and blue crabs. At Cameron’s Seafood, we sell Alaskan Snow Crab Legs and Jumbo Alaskan King Crab Legs, and are very well known for our famous Maryland Blue Crabs.
Let’s start with what crabs actually are. Well, we all know that they are crustaceans! Crabs are characterized by their 10 jointed legs (they are decapods) and the front two legs are usually claws. Crabs have two eyes on stalks, breathe through their gills under the carapace (hard jointed shell on the back), and they grow by molting their shell and growing a new one.
Here are the 5 common crab varieties found within the United States that we have chosen to focus on:
1. Dungeness Crab
The carapaces of Dungeness crabs are oval-shaped and range in color from a yellow-brown to purple. They have hooks on their claws that distinguish them from other crab species. Dungeness crabs come from the west coast of North America and are one of the most commercially important crab varieties in the Pacific Northwest. They most commonly inhabit eel grass beds and ocean floors.
2. Stone Crab
Stone crabs are usually brownish red with gray spots and their undersides are a tan color. They live on average for 7-8 years, and females can lay up to 1,000,000 eggs at a time!
Stone crabs are usually harvested primarily for their claws; upon acquiring the claw, the live crabs are put back in the ocean where they can regrow new claws. The claws of a stone crab can crush an oyster shell. The vast majority (about 98%) of stone crabs come from Florida and they can usually be found in 6-inch to 3-foot holes around dock pilings. They use shells to dig holes for themselves!
3. Snow Crab
Snow crabs range in color from brown to light red on top and from yellow to white underneath, and their feet are bright white on the sides.
Fun fact: female snow crabs can carry up to 150,000 eggs in their abdomen after mating.
In the North Pacific, they are found from Alaska to northern Siberia, but snow crabs are also found in many other parts of the world. Snow crabs are found in the ocean’s shelf and upper slope, on the sandy, muddy ground.
4. King Crab
In North America, king crabs are found around Juno, Alaska.
King crabs range in weight from 6-14 lbs (though some have been found as large as 24 lbs!). A large king crab can cost as much as $500.
There are three different types of king crabs that get harvested commercially: the red, blue, and golden king crab. The crab varieties come by these names due to the color of their shells.
You can usually find king crabs at the bottom of the ocean or on muddy, sandy floors at a depth of anywhere from 90 – 300 feet.
5. Blue Crab
Last but not least, blue crabs have sapphire tinted claws (hence the name!) and they weigh anywhere from 1-2 lbs. Their carapace is a mottled brownish color and mature females have red highlights on the tips of their pincers.
Blue crabs can be found around Nova Scotia, down through the Gulf of Mexico, and all the way to Uruguay. They are usually found in coastal lagoons. At Cameron’s Seafood, we sell Maryland Blue Crab caught daily in the Chesapeake Bay.
We’re biased in saying this but… Maryland blue crabs are pretty delicious!
Buy Maryland Blue Crab Online
You can visit our online store to purchase fresh Maryland blue crabs, jumbo Alaskan king crab legs, and snow crab legs (as well as other seafood). Subscribe to our email newsletter by entering your email address in the sidebar of this website — we frequently run exclusive giveaways and promotions for our subscribers!
By: Melanie Craighead