King Crab vs Snow Crab: Difference and Comparison

Whenever one hears the name crab, the image of crunchy crab that comes to mind is dipped in spicy smoked cheese, surrounded by butter. They are called the king.

Snow Crab and King Crab both pair well with each other with butter and lemon. There is a lot of difference between these two crustaceans, making them different.

Key Takeaways

  1. King crabs are larger and have a more robust flavor than snow crabs, which are smaller and have a more delicate taste.
  2. King crab legs are meatier and have a spiky, thick shell, while snow crab legs are thinner and smoother.
  3. King crabs are more expensive than snow crabs due to their size and difficulty harvesting them.

King Crab vs Snow Crab

The difference between a king crab and a snow crab is that King Crab has short legs while Snow Crab has big legs. Size is an important factor when it comes to crabs. Both of these are one of the most popular seafood eaten. The methods of making both are different, and they are not made easily. Both have different flavours, which maintain their popularity.

King Crab vs Snow Crab

King crabs are a taxonomic group of decapod crustaceans found mainly in cold climates in the oceans. If we talk about their size, then they are big. These are mainly sold as food.

Due to their delicious taste, they are in high demand. The red crab is commonly called the king crab, whose scientific name is Paralithodes camschaticus.

Chionocetes opilio is commonly known as Snow Crab. As the name suggests, these crabs are found in snowy places. Many of their species have spread.

They have a total of 7 species, and all are called snow crabs. These are species found in all the northern oceans. Their legs are big, and they are also sold as food.

Comparison Table

Parameters of comparisonKing Crab Snow Crab 
Harvest Season Harvest season starts from mid-October and lasts until mid-January.Snow crab has a longer harvest season. It begins in late fall and goes up to the early weeks of summer.
Habitat King crab has a limited cold water habitat and is mostly found in and around the Bering Sea between Alaska and Russia.Snow crab founds near the offshores of both Alaska and Marine. 
Weight    The average weight of a king crab is approximately 6 pounds.The average weight of snow crab is found between 2 to 4 pounds.
Taste    Since it has thicker legs that’s why cooking provides a sweet and crunchy taste to seafood lovers.It has firmly long pieces, gives a sweet taste but it has a subtle bring flavor which is not found in king crab.
Crackability    Due to thicker legs and spiked lines, for best results, it requires crab cracker tools.It has soft legs and enough to handle with bare hands.

What is King Crab?

King crabs are a taxonomic group of decapod crustaceans found mainly in cold climates in the oceans. If we talk about their size, then they are big. These are mainly sold as food.

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Due to their delicious taste, they are in high demand. The red crab is commonly called the king crab, whose scientific name is Paralithodes camschaticus.

In the early stages, crabs were placed in the superfamily Paguroidea because they were classified as single hermit crabs. But later, a separate superfamily Lithoidea was created for the king crab in which it was placed.

Most scientists unanimously accept this superfamily. Apart from Neolithodes Diomedes, the king crab is also a marine species.

There are other species of king crab, including lithodes, neolithodes, Paralithodes, and possibly lopholithodes. Apart from this, some parasitic species, such as Careproctus fish, serve as their host.

These parasites lay their eggs in the gill region of the crab and stay with them till they hatch and provide them with a protected environment. In this way, the king crab protects the eggs.

Since it has thicker legs, cooking provides a sweet and crunchy taste to seafood lovers. Due to thicker legs and spiked lines, it requires crab cracker tools for best results.

king crab

What is Snow Crab?

Snow crabs are a type of species known as Chionocetes opilio. It is mainly found in the Northwest Atlantic Ocean and North Pacific Ocean.

Other species of them are found under different names like epifaunal crustaceans, chionocets, etc. Snow crab is another name for them. A total of 7 species are found in these.

Snow crabs have a protective shell on their body that protects them. They are wide and long. Calcium is deposited in their tubercles. In addition, snow crabs have a rostrum that is horizontal and resembles a carapace.

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Their spine is triangular. Snow crab has a longer harvest season. It begins in late fall and goes up to the early weeks of summer. 

Snow crabs are found near the offshores of both Alaska and Marine. The average weight of snow crab is found between 2 to 4 pounds. Snow crab has firmly long pieces, giving a sweet taste, but it has a subtle bring flavour which is not found in king crab.

It has soft legs and enough to handle with bare hands. If we talk about their form, then they are like the colors of the rainbow. It is brown and light red from above and yellow and white from below. Apart from this, their feet are light, bright white.

snow crab

Main Differences Between King Crab and Snow Crab

  1. In King crab, the Harvest season starts in mid-October and lasts until mid-January, while Snow crab has a longer harvest season. It begins in late fall and goes up to the early weeks of summer.
  2. Since King crab has thicker legs, that’s why cooking provides a sweet and crunchy taste to seafood lovers, while snow crab has firmly long pieces, giving a sweet taste, but it has a subtle bring flavour which is not found in king crab.
  3. Due to thicker legs and spiked lines, King crab requires crab cracker tools for best results, while Snow crab has soft legs and enough to handle with bare hands.
  4. The average weight of a king crab is approximately 6 pounds, whereas the average weight of a snow crab is found between 2 to 4 pounds.
  5. King crab has a limited cold water habitat and is mostly found in and around the Bering Sea between Alaska and Russia, while Snow crab is found near the offshores of both Alaska and Marine. 
Difference Between King Crab and Snow Crab
References
  1. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/23308249.2017.1335284
  2. https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10530-008-9273-7
  3. https://imr.brage.unit.no/imr-xmlui/bitstream/handle/11250/113927/FoH_8-2013.pdf?sequence=1

Last Updated : 14 June, 2023

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9 thoughts on “King Crab vs Snow Crab: Difference and Comparison”

  1. The content is very interesting, the author really did a great job. I especially liked the information about their habitat.

    Reply
  2. I found the article quite boring. I don’t understand why they would write about something as trivial as crabs.

    Reply
  3. I found this article very informative, it is very interesting the way in which these two different species are characterized. I enjoyed reading all the details about the crabs.

    Reply

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