Crabs are crustaceans most commonly associated with the oceans of the world. However, there are many species that can be found in fresh water and even on the land! Most crabs have a hard shell (exoskeleton) and a single pair of claws. There are thousands of species of crabs and most are smaller than 10 cm (3.9 in) wide. However, there are some extremely large and heavy species of crabs and many of these are prized culinary delicacies because they yield more meat. Let’s find out which species of crab is the largest in the world.
What is the largest crab?
The largest species of crab is the Japanese spider crab, with a leg span than can reach up to a massive 3.8 m (12 ft). It is also the heaviest species of crab and can reach a weight of more than 19 kg (41 lb). The body of this impressive crab can grow to 40 cm (16 in) in width. Generally the male member’s of this species are the larger than the females.
As the name suggests the Japanese spider crab is found in the waters surrounding Japan, but the largest populations are found off the southern coast of the country. They can live anywhere from a depth of 50 m (160 ft) through to 600 m (2,000 ft). They are commonly found in holes and vents at the bottom of the ocean. The Japanese spider crab can look threatening due to their impressive size, but all reports state that they are placid and gentle animals. These crabs are a delicacy, but the fishery for this species is still rather small.
Did you know?
Another large species of crab that is often mistakenly called the heaviest crab is the Tasmanian giant crab. These have much smaller arms than the spider crab, but have a wider and thicker body. There have been unconfirmed reports than this species can reach 15 kg (33 lb), but most reports state that 13 kg (29 lb) is the maximum weight of this species. This species is a popular culinary species and has been commercially harvested since 2002.