Difference Between Snow Crab and King Crab

Key Difference – Snow Crab vs King Crab
 

Snow crab and king crab are two species of crustaceans and you can notice some difference between them in their physical characteristics. Crabs belong to order Decapoda and are characterized by the presence of 10 segmented legs (decopds), hard crust, sideway walking behavior, and the ability to survive on both lands and water (most crabs). The key difference between snow crab and king crab is that the Snow Crab is classified under the genus Chionoecetes under family Oregoniidae while King Crab is classified under ten different genera of family Lithodidae. In this article, the anatomy of both crab species are elaborated in order to easily find the difference between snow crab and king crab.

What is Snow Crab?

Snow crab is a crustacean classified under genus Chionoecetes. It is native to northwest Atlantic and North Pacific oceans and is a well-known species for commercial harvesting for human consumption. It has a round carapace with a short rostrum. The width of the carapace of a fully grown male crab is around 160 mm. Male crabs are larger than female crabs. Males can be easily distinguished by the size of the claw. Predatory snow crabs are benthic invertebrates and feed on small invertebrates such as crustaceans, bivalves, brittle stars, annelid worms, etc.  Moreover, these crabs are also scavengers. In addition, cannibalism is also seen among intermediate-sized females.

king cab vs. snow cab

What is King Crab?    

 King Crabs or Stone Crabs are crustaceans and are famous as food due to their larger size and taste of their meat. Ten king crab species have been identified so far. Among them, Red King Crab is the largest species of king crabs and most common commercially harvested crabs. It is thought that the king crabs were derived from hermit crab- like ancestors. King crabs are usually found in cold seas. The carapace width of a red crab is around 28 cm.  King crabs can tolerate a wide range of temperature and salinity levels. King crab often lives in fairly deep water.difference between snow cab and king crab

What is the difference Snow Crab and King Crab?

Classification of Snow Crab and King Crab

Snow Crab: Snow crab is classified under the genus Chionoecetes under family Oregoniidae.

King Crab: King crabs are classified under ten different genera of family Lithodidae.

Features of Snow Crab and King Crab

Body size

Snow Crab: A grown male crab is around 160 mm

King Crab: King crabs are larger than snow crabs.

Habitat

Snow crab: Snow crabs are native to northwest Atlantic and North Pacific oceans

King crab: King crabs are usually found in cold waters.

Anatomy

King crab: King crabs have more prominent spines like structures on their exoskeleton unlike in snow crabs.

Snow Crab: Snow Crabs have triangular spines.

 

Image Courtesy:
“Chionoecetes opilio” by Takaaki Nishioka – Flicr.com.  (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Wikimedia Commons 
“Redkingcrab” by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (Public Domain) via Wikimedia