Difference Between King Crab & Snow Crab

Many people enjoy eating snow crabs and king crabs for their tender, succulent meat. Often confused because of their similarities, a close examination of the distantly related crabs reveals some slight differences.

SIze

The largest snow crabs weigh about five pounds, while the largest king crabs can weight up to 10 pounds.

Identification

King crabs have six legs, a large crusher claw and a smaller pincher claw. The snow crabs have 10 legs that are longer and thinner than those of king crabs. King crabs have a harder, more spiky shell than snow crabs. Snow crabs are also browner in color than king crabs.

Taste

Specialty food magazine, "The Nibble," describes the taste of the meat of snow crabs and king crabs as sweet, but says that the meat of snow crabs is more fibrous than that of king crabs.

Harvesting

King crabs and snow crabs have slightly different harvesting seasons. According to World Fishing Today, the harvest season for Alaska king crab ranges from October through November and again from January through March. Alaska snow crab is usually harvested from October through mid-February.

Export

The United States, Canada, Russia and Japan capture and export snow crabs. Only the United States and Russia capture and export king crabs.

References & Resources