Difference Between Bairdi and Opilio Crabs

The earliest humans established their civilizations near the seashores. The very reason is they can survive consuming seafood.


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The history of people eating fish, oysters and crabs is very ancient. They even differentiated different categories among them.

The crabs have self-evolved 4 times since the formation of the earth. The consumption of crabs was mainly because of their flavour and taste.

There are wide varieties of crabs found in this world. A few categories do not exist in certain parts too.

The two prominent crabs that people consume are Bairdi Crab and Opilio Crab. Though they look alike in various features, there are many differences between them.

Key Takeaways

  1. Bairdi crabs, or Tanner crabs, are a species of snow crab found in the North Pacific, known for their large size and sweet, tender meat.
  2. Opilio crabs, another species of snow crab, are smaller than Bairdi crabs and have a slightly different flavor and texture.
  3. The choice between Bairdi and Opilio crabs depends on individual preferences for size, taste, and texture when enjoying crab dishes.

Bairdi vs Opilio Crabs

Bairdi crab is a snow crab that are decapods with pincer claws on the front-most pair of their legs. They have short tails. Opilio is a type of snow crab that is smaller than a Bairdi and has long and wide carapaces which are protective shell coverings over their bodies.

Bairdi vs Opilio crabs

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Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonBairdi CrabOpilio Crab
Capturing MethodBairdi Crabs are captured using Crab traps. It is mainly caught using crab pots.Opilio Crabs are caught using the trawling method.
SizeThe Bairdi Crab is more extensive when compared to Opilio CrabsOpilio is smaller in size.
Meat ContentThey have high meat content.They have less meat content.
AppearanceThe Bairdi Crabs have short tails.The Opilio Crabs hav4 4 long pairs of legs.
FlavourBairdi Crab have a slightly Sweet flavourIt does not have a sweet taste.


What are Bairdi Crabs?

Bairdi Crab is a species of snow crab that is available on Earth. Bairdi crabs are found in the Bering Sea of the Pacific Ocean.

Snow Crab: This is the name given to Chionoecetes crabs that live in the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans.

Bairdi Crabs are scientifically called Chionoecetes Bairdi. It is also called the Tanner crab.

The life span of a Bairdi Crab is around 10 years. The adult crab can grow up to a weight of 1.8 kilograms.

The female Bairdi Crabs incubate for 12 months before hatching. It hatches during the spring.

The larva of the crab can swim for a while. However, in two months, it loses the capacity to swim and settles at the sea bed.

They consume seaworms and clams. At the same time, Baridi crab is known for its subtly sweet flavour in taste.

The Tanner crabs are caught using a crab trap called a Crab pot. It came into existence in the early 1950s.

The Crab Pot is a cage-like structure that lures the crab with its food items and captures it. Though crabs are caught for recreational purposes, mainly, it is used for human consumption.

Bairdi Crabs have short tails. It is tough to differentiate between a Baridi Crab and an Opilio Crab of its size.

However, it is also observed that a Bairdi Crab is more giant than the other Chionoecetes varieties. That means its meat content exceeds the different Pacific and Atlantic Oceans crab varieties.

bairdi crabs

What are Opilio Crabs?

It is a species of snow crab found in the Bering Sea. It is also known as the Snow crab.

The Opilio Crabs are scientifically called Chionoecetes Opilio. They are also referred to as Opies in the food markets.

The Opilio Crabs are caught by the Trawling method, unlike the Bairdi Crabs.  Further, Opilio crabs are smaller in size, and it has a long tail.

Compared to the Bairdi Crabs, Opilio crabs are easier to find. Further, the male opilio crabs are twice the size of the female ones.

The maximum weight an Opilio Crab can reach is 1.3 kilograms. At the same time, the females can attain a weight of half a kilo.

The lifespan of the Opilio crabs ranges between 5 to 6 years. Moreover, the female opilio carries around One and a half Lakh eggs, and they tend to lay them deep under the ocean.

The eating pattern of Opilios differs in its size. The Opilios generally feed on worms, but it is also observed that they can consume bigger annelids.

With the Crab’s weight, the meat content is less than most of the crab varieties found in the Pacific and the Atlantic Oceans. Though the crab is smaller, its 4 pairs of legs make it look bigger.

They are present in elegant colours of red or orange at the back and white at the bottom. It is also rated to find and can be caught in huge numbers during January every year.

opilio crabs 1

Main Differences Between Bairdi and Opilio Crabs

  1. The meat content is the main difference between the Bairdi and Opilio Crabs. A Bairdi Crab has more meat content than an Opilio Crab.
  2. Bairdi Crab has short tails, while Opilio has longer ones.
  3. The capturing method of these two crabs also differ. The Bairdi Crab is caught using crab pots by setting a trap, while Opilio is captured typically as people capture fish. This process is called Trawling.
  4. The size of the Crabs has a subtle difference too. Bairdi Crabs are slightly more significant than the Opilio Crabs.
  5. Though the Crabs are rare in certain seasons, they are mainly consumed for their taste. Bairdi crabs have a sweet flavour, while Opilio does not have it.
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