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King crab

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noun, plural: king crabs

A large crab-like crustacean of the taxonomic family Lithodidae


King crabs are crustacean species of the family Lithodidae. They are highly prized and caught to be sold as food. They are typically found in cold seas.

They are called king crabs because of their size, which is larger than the typical crabs. However, they are not true crabs. They only resemble the crabs in terms of having jointed appendages and a hard exoskeleton. Crab species are also crustaceans but they particularly belong to the infraorder Brachyura. King crabs belong to the infraorder Anomura. Nevertheless, both king crabs and crabs are from the same order – Decapoda.

The red king crab (Paralithodes camthschaticus), which can reach a leg span of 5.9 ft, is one of the most preferred crustaceans for consumption. It can be pricey because it is often difficult to catch. Red king crabs are commonly caught in the Bering Sea and Norton, Alaska. A living P. camthschaticus is burgundy in color but when cooked it turns red (hence, the name).

The largest king crab species is the Paralithodes platypus, commonly called as the blue king crab.

Scientific classification:

See also: