Types of Crabs: Learn all about the different crabs species.

There are many types of crabs in the world, unlike what some people may believe because they only see those that are characteristic of the beaches.

These creatures are crustaceans belonging to the order Decapoda and the arthropods family, and their characteristic legs make them the largest specimens in the group to which  lobsters, shrimps and prawns belong also. Given their status as arthropods, they have an external exoskeleton that protects them. In most cases, this exoskeleton is mineralized by the action of calcium carbonate, which makes of it a kind of armor. Most types of crabs have something in common, since they like to be on the bottom of the water, either sweet or salty. Their diet is based on the consumption of algae, fungi and other small bacteria.

Let’s know the different types of crabs

Sea Crabs

Like all crabs, sea crabs belong to the order of decapods, which mean they have five pairs of legs inserted into their abdomens. The first pair of legs evolved over time, becoming a pair of claws or pincers that these crustaceans use to capture, cut and manipulate their food and even to defend themselves, and to court their partners. Another distinctive feature related to marine crabs is that in general, they are not good swimmers, but, on the contrary, use their legs to roam the rocky surfaces of the underwater habitats where they live. This fact makes some of them benthic creatures. Few species have managed to develop nektonic habits by spending their lives swimming between two different depths of the sea.

Let’s know the most common types of sea crabs .

Horseshoe crabs

Horseshoe crabs are also known as casserole crabs because they look like an inverted pot. This crustacean is characterized by having a distinctive shell in the shape of a horseshoe, which originates its name. In addition, such carapace is characterized by being smooth and convex. These crabs commonly live in shallow, muddy bottom waters in the North Atlantic, and spend most of their time in the water. We invite you to read our article horseshoe crabs to learn more about these creatures.

types of crabs : horse shoe crabs

Hermit crabs

These strange creatures receive the scientific name of Bernhardus Pagurus, but they are better known as hermit crabs (INT) or soldier crabs. These crustaceans belong to the decapod family, and there are around five hundred (500) species of these crabs worldwide. Most hermit crabs are aquatic, but there are also some species that can live in the sand on the shore of beaches. When they are on land, they prefer to live hidden under the rocks, as long as they can live close to the shore so they can approach to the water to keep their gills moist to survive and reproduce. Hermit crabs use snails´ shells or other mollusks to cover their bodies, which unlike other crabs is soft and does not harden. For this reason, they resort to the corpse of another species, but they do not take advantage of it as carrion, but to inhabit it.

King Crab (Chaceon affinis)

(Eng) Deep red crab (Fr) Crabe rouge profond

This species Live in the Canary Islands area, in deep water from 500 m. It is reddish brown in color and it lacks of hairs on the body and legs, while its limbs are long and thin.

We invite you to read our article sea crabs to learn about the reproduction of these crabs and other important characteristics of them.

Terrestrial Crabs.

In this category we can mention the ghost crabs and the coconut crabs. Both species live in burrows that they create near the beach.  In the case of coconut crabs they are born in the sea, but then develop their entire life on the beach.

Let’s learn more about them.

Ghost crabs

These crabs are characterized by having one claw larger than the other. However, this feature is not as marked as in the case of male fiddler crabs. The subfamily Ocypodinae to which these crabs belong, includes twenty-two species in two genera, and belongs to the family Ocypodidae, which also includes the taxon of the fiddler crabs (Ucinae). We invite you to read our article ghost crabs to learn more about these creatures.

Coconut Crabs

The coconut crabs are the heaviest terrestrial arthropods on the planet, and it is a species of hermit crab that owes its name to its great fondness for coconuts. He opens these delicious fruits using his huge tongs (chelae). Thanks to this particular characteristic, it is also called «thief of thieves or thief of palms», while the Germans call it Palmendieb. In addition, metal containers, knives, forks and any other bright objects are also included in its list whose name «latro» comes from Latin and means «thief.» Coconut crabs can be included in the group of land crabs, because although they are born in the sea, once they reach land, they only return to the water to reproduce and die.

Let´s meet them…. but don´t get scare


The crayfish belong to the family of Astacoidea and Paracoidea and live in fresh water. They are found mostly in streams and rivers with deep flows where they can safely shelter from the predators that haunt them, and it is difficult for them to survive in polluted waters because they cannot find the proper food in them. Their body is more elongated than the rest of the crabs, which differentiates them especially from the smaller species. Its morphology consists of 19 parts grouped in the cephalothorax and the abdomen.

Blue Crayfish

These freshwater crabs live mainly in Australia. They can be found in the lowlands, specifically where there are different concentrations of water, such as dams, streams, wells, swamps, reservoirs. Generally, they prefer the crystal clear waters, although they can also be found in other places, of different temperatures. .

Red Crayfish

This species of crayfish is native to the United States, but has spread to various parts of the world. It is worth mentioning the specific case of Spain where they have displaced species of native crabs from that country. The situation reached a point where the hunting and commercialization of this species was prohibited, leaving the inhabitants of a town called the Isla Mayor without job.

We invite you to read our articles crayfish, to learn more about this species.

Mangrove Crabs

These crabs live this habitat in the form of islands, or steppes, with trees highly resistant to salt water. There are many species of these crabs, which are also ecologically important, since they keep much of the energy inside this forest, burying and consuming the garbage from the leaves. These crabs are distinguished by having a relatively narrow oval cephalothorax, sloping downward, which may be gray or bluish gray; with its red or orange margins. The ventral area is brown, and its claws are dark.

Let’s now know the most common mangrove crabs.

Fiddler Crabs

These crabs are also known as calling crabs and belong to the family Ocypodidae. They are small crabs no more than 5 cm in diameter that are distributed throughout western Africa, the western Atlantic, the eastern Pacific and the Indo-Pacific. Fiddler crabs are easily recognizable by their clearly asymmetric claws.

let´s meet them

Mud crabs or black crabs (Scylla serrata):

This species is dispersed throughout Africa, Australia and Asia. They have the anatomical features listed above and in terms of colors; it ranges from green to dark brown.


This genus is composed of 23 species of small crabs, most of them scattered throughout the Indian-Pacific Ocean.

Edible Crabs.

Crabs, like most marine species, can be eaten and in fact provide a lot of nutrients especially when eaten fresh. However, the most advisable thing is to alternate the foods that we consume, to avoid in this way the overfishing of any species. Therefore we will know now species that we didn’t mention previously

King Crab

It has that name because of its large size and weight, of up to 20 pounds, and its consumption provides many proteins. They can be found in different colors such as red, brown, blue or gold. Mainly the males of this species are consumed since their flavor is more delicate and their flesh is white as snow and very soft with a red border on the outside.

Spinous spider crab

It is found on the coasts of Mexico and Alaska. This type of crab weighs up to 4 pounds and its meat is sweet and delicate.

Moro Crab

This type of crab is usually only captured by its pincers, because that is where the biggest amount of meat is stored and with a more delicate flavor.

Snow Crabs

The snow crabs or Chionoecetes opilio in scientific terms, are a type of crab very popular in Alaska. They are characterized by the brown tones of the upper part of their shells, which become lighter in the lower one. His eyes are green or blue-green. Snow crabs inhabit deep waters, more than 300 meters deep, which makes them a very difficult and risky species to capture. This species is also quite consumed when it is available, but its price is commonly high, due to the problems associated with its fishing. It provides proteins, fats and lacks carbohydrates and fiber.

Bay Crabs

They are very popular in Maine because their way of preparing them has transcended the world. Moreover they are the favorites of all United States because they say that the taste of their meat is different from the other species. They are only found in the east of the country.

Flower Crab

It is found specifically in the Mediterranean Sea, it is called a flower because of its appearance that resembles it and has a sweet and delicate flesh if cooked correctly.

Want to try?…. Go ahead!

Benefits of Consuming Crabs

There are several benefits related to the consumptions of crabs, since their meat provides minerals, vitamins and omega-3 acids which offer huge benefits for our bones, immune system and mental activity. As for Omega-3 fatty acids they have very good properties to balance cholesterol levels in our body, control blood pressure and prevent diseases such as atherosclerosis. We invite you to read our article Crabs to learn more about the benefits provided by this species.

Fish Tanks Crabs.

Most of the types of crabs that can be found used in aquariums belong to the Cherax, Procambarus and Cambarellus families; and they are large and completely omnivorous

Cherax Family.

They are crayfish very similar to lobsters, and have the largest size of their genus. It is very important that they live in large aquariums because they tend to mobilize much more when they are adults. The right temperature for them ranges from 18 to 30 Celsius degrees at the most although 25 C degrees is considered the perfect temperature for them. They are omnivorous creatures so they can consume algae, fish meat and other species such as larvae and insects without abusing on its feeding as it can cause crabs to give off unpleasant odors in the water and polluting it.

Procambarus Family.

There are more than 100 species of these crabs distributed in 16 families. They are a little smaller than the Cherax although their size varies depending on the species. They can measure up to about 13 cm in length without including the clamps. They also need to be located in large aquariums because like the previous class they like to be in constant mobility. Their feeding is similar than that of the Cherax, since they can eat plants and meat without in small servings. Try always to not cram them so that they don´t release their unpleasant odors inside your aquarium.

Cambarellus family.

This genus is composed of of 17 species divided into 3 families being the smallest among the genera of fresh water. Their size varies depending on the species and they measure up to 5 cm in length without counting their pincers. Given their small size it is not necessary to have them in large aquariums. You have to keep them in temperatures no higher than 26 degrees because it can be harmful for them. As for their diet, it is based practically on algae, prawns and baby crabs of other species. This species is not as common as the previous ones so their care in captivity is more extensive.

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