Biggest Crab In The World
With more than 6,000 species of crabs in the world, these creatures have a large presence in the ocean. With ten legs, hard shells, and massive claws that protect their bodies, they are quite unique.
Beyond that, crabs are enjoyed as delicacies by humans worldwide.
If you've ever enjoyed crab legs at dinner and thought,
"Wow, these must have come from the biggest crab on Earth."
Then think again!
Let's dive in and take a look at some of the largest crabs in the world!
What Is The Biggest Crab In The World?
What fun would it be if we didn't shine a light on some of the other massive crab species that roam the ocean floor?
Before we get to the world's biggest crab, let's give some credit to the runners-up, as they're pretty impressive as well.
#10 Florida Stone Crab
When it comes to dinner menus, the Florida Stone Crab tops the list as one of the priciest species around.
But, it's even crazier to think that people exclusively eat their claws. While their bodies are only 5-6.5 inches in length, they typically have VERY large claws.
While the female Florida Stone Crab is larger than the male, the males have larger claws. Generally, a Florida Stone Crab can reach up to five inches in length.
Stone Crabs often reside in the western portion of the Northern Atlantic Ocean. However, they can also be found in Georgia and South Carolina in local salt marshes. They'll usually dig small, six-inch holes in shallower depths to hide in. Some of the Florida Stone Crab's predators include cobia, octopi, turtles, and, of course, humans.
#9 Blue Crab
The Blue Crab, otherwise referred to as the Chesapeake Blue Crab or the Atlantic Blue Crab, is a massive crab with bright blue claws and an olive green body. They can often reach up to nine inches in length, though they are quite lightweight, typically only growing to be about one pound.
You can find blue crab throughout the Gulf of Mexico and the greater Atlantic Ocean. This particular species of crab is one of the most widespread.
The blue crab species loves feeding on small fish, oysters, clams, and other animals that have decayed. They only live for about three years, spending most of their time in shallow water. They will often burrow into holes during the winter to protect themselves from freezing temperatures.
#8 Opilio Crab
This unique snow crab species, sometimes referred to as opies, lives in the Northern Pacific Ocean and the Northwest Atlantic Ocean.
Male opilio crabs are often larger than their female counterparts, growing up to around 6.5 inches in length and weighing up to around three pounds.
Opilio crabs have a diverse environmental range, living anywhere from 40 to 7,200 feet deep.
This species is a bit of a bottomfeeder, eating small invertebrates and scavenging for dead animals wherever it goes. They'll often live for around six years before passing away.
You can find these snow crabs on menus all over the world, though they are most often caught in Canada and Alaska.
#7 Dungeness Crab
You can find the Dungeness crab lurking in the North American portion of the Pacific Ocean. These big crabs can easily grow up to 7.9 inches in length, though some people have stumbled across Dungeness crabs up to 9.8 inches!
Similar to Opilios, they have quite a wide environmental range and can be found living anywhere from 40 to 7,200 feet beneath the ocean's surface.
Because this crab has very little amount of meat, yet a massive shell, which is why it is one of the pricier crabs on this list. However, Dungeness crabs will often molt their big shells in the fall before mating season, which is why it's important to catch them at the right time.
FUN FACT: The Dungeness crab is the most commonly fished marine species in the Pacific Northwest!
#6 Brown Crab
Brown crabs are referred to as "edible crabs," as they're pretty delicious!
As with many crab species, the females are larger, often reaching up to 10 inches in length! You can find brown crabs at depths as deep as 330 feet near Africa and Norway throughout the Northeast Atlantic waters.
Brown crabs live buried beneath debris and under rocks or in holes. They are uniquely nocturnal creatures, burying themselves during the day and coming out to search for food at night.
Strangely enough, however, they do not sleep while they are buried during the day.
While the brown crab is one of the most frequently fished and farmed crabs in the world, they are also one of the biggest sources of prey for octopi.
#5 Red King Crab
Red king crabs, otherwise known as Alaskan king crabs or Kamchatka crabs, are the largest king crab species in the world.
Their bodies often grow up to seven inches in length, though they can easily weigh up to six pounds!
Some of the largest red king crabs ever found were 11 inches in length and 28 pounds. However, it is pretty rare to find red king crabs this large.
You can find these spikey little fellas near the Northern Pacific Ocean, the Bering Sea, and the Kamchatka Peninsula. Many people think of the red king crab as the prime crab species, which is why they are one of the most harvested crabs in the world.
FUN FACT: The red king crab gets its name from the bright red color that it turns during cooking, though they are often blueish or brownish-red when in the wild.
#4 Giant Mud Crab
The giant mud crab goes by many names, including the Indo-Pacific mud crab, the Serrated Swimming crab, the black crab, and the mangrove crab. On average, their bodies grow up to nine inches in length, though some have been found at around 11 inches and 11 pounds.
Giant mud crabs are often greenish blackish colors with spikey bodies. While they often eat smaller crustaceans and mollusks, they'll also eat fish and ocean plants.
Female giant mud crabs typically bury their bodies in the mud while male giant mud crabs find burrows to hideaway in.
#3 Coconut Crab
Coconut crabs, sometimes referred to as robber crabs, are the biggest terrestrial crabs in the world, often growing up to 3.5 inches in length and nine pounds.
It's difficult to find them in places where humans live, as we tend to extirpate them, though you can find them throughout the Pacific and Indian Oceans.
Because it cannot swim, the coconut crab will spend most of its life living on the land among the coconut trees.
However, the coconut crab species lives in the sea for a month while it transforms out of its larvae stage before crawling to shore.
While coconut crabs enjoy plenty of different food, they love nuts, fruits, and vegetation.
FUN FACT: The coconut crab has a very long lifespan compared to other crabs, living for over 60 years!
#2 Tasmanian Giant Crab
The Tasmanian giant crab is one of the largest crabs known to man. This massive crab can grow up to 39 pounds and 18 inches in length. You'll find the Tasmanian giant crab lurking in the muddy bottoms of the South Australian Ocean. Most of them find a home along the edges of the continental shelf, anywhere from 550 to 600 feet deep.
Male Tasmanian giant crabs are often twice the size of their female counterparts. The species enjoys feeding on carrion, starfish, and other crustaceans.
While adult crabs have red tops and yellowish-white bottoms, younger crabs have red tops with yellowish bottoms.
One unique thing about the Tasmanian giant crab is that it has one oversized claw.
#1 Japanese Spider Crab
Ready for the world's biggest crab?
The leg span alone on this gentle giant is incredible!
The Japanese spider crab is the largest of all the spider crabs and the largest crab on Earth.
Not only that, but they also have the longest leg span of any arthropod, growing to around 12 feet in length. Their carapace width often hovers around 16 inches, though they can easily weigh up to 42 pounds.
As the name suggests, Japanese spider crabs live in the waters surrounding Japan.
You can find them in a wide depth range from around 150 to 1,980 feet in places like Tokyo Bay and Hanshu.
It's easy to recognize a Japanese spider crab thanks to its orange body and dark spots. Even though Japanese spider crabs are so large, they'll still camouflage themselves in sponges and algae to avoid predators. Beyond humans, some of the most dangerous predators Japanese spider crabs must look out for include octopus and large fish.
Japanese spider crabs are at risk of endangerment, which is why Japan is taking steps to stop overfishing.
FUN FACT: The Japanese spider crab can live up to 100 years, making it one of the longest-living crabs around!
Want to see more of the Ocean's largest? Check out our recent articles below!