King crab

King crab

name = King crabs

image_width = 220px
image_caption = "Paralithodes californiensis"
regnum = Animalia
phylum = Arthropoda
subphylum = Crustacea
classis = Malacostraca
ordo = Decapoda
infraordo = Anomura
superfamilia = Paguroidea
familia = Lithodidae
familia_authority = Samouelle, 1819
subdivision_ranks = Genera [cite journal | quotes=no |author=McLaughlin, P. A. |year=2003 |url= |title=Illustrated keys to families and genera of the superfamily Paguroidea (Crustacea: Decapoda: Anomura), with diagnoses of genera of Paguridae |journal=Memoirs of Museum Victoria |volume=60 |issue=1 |pages=111–144 |format=dead link|date=June 2008 – [ Scholar search] ]
subdivision = "Acantholithodes"

King crabs, also called stone crabs, are a family of crab-like decapod crustaceans chiefly found in cold seas. Because of their large size and the taste of their flesh, many species are widely caught and sold as food.

King crabs are generally believed to be derived from hermit crab ancestors, which may explain the asymmetry still found in the adult forms. Although some doubt still exists about this theory, king crabs are the most widely quoted example of carcinisation (shellification/crustification) among the Decapoda (familiar crustaceans). The evidence for this explanation comes from the asymmetry of the king crab's abdomen, which is thought to reflect the asymmetry of hermit crabs, which must fit into a spiral shell.


Around 40 species are known , in 14 genera: [ITIS|ID=97919|taxon=Lithodidae]
* "Acantholithodes" Holmes, 1895
**"Acantholithodes hispidus" (Stimpson, 1860)
*"Cryptolithodes" Brandt, 1848
**"Cryptolithodes brevifrons"
**"Cryptolithodes sitchensis" Brandt, 1853 — umbrella crab
**"Cryptolithodes typicus" Brandt, 1848 — butterfly crab
*"Dermaturus" Brandt, 1850
**"Dermaturus mandtii" Brandt, 1850 — wrinkled crab
*"Glyptolithodes" Faxon, 1895
**"Glyptolithodes cristatipes" (Faxon, 1893)
*"Hapalogaster" Brandt, 1850
**"Hapalogaster cavicauda" Stimpson, 1859
**"Hapalogaster grebnitzkii" Schalfeew, 1892
**"Hapalogaster mertensii" Brandt, 1850
*"Lithodes" Latreille, 1806
**"Lithodes aequispinus" J. E. Benedict, 1895 — golden king crab
**"Lithodes agassizii"
**"Lithodes antarcticus" - Chilean centolla or Chilean king crab
**"Lithodes couesi" J. E. Benedict, 1895 — scarlet king crab
**"Lithodes longispina" Sakai, 1971
**"Lithodes maja" (Linnaeus, 1758) — Norway king crab
**"Lithodes nintokuae" Sakai, 1976
*"Lopholithodes" Brandt, 1848
**"Lopholithodes foraminatus" (Stimpson, 1859) — brown box crab
**"Lopholithodes mandtii" Brandt, 1848 — Puget Sound king crab
*"Neolithodes" A. Milne-Edwards & Bouvier, 1894
**"Neolithodes agassizii" (S. I. Smith, 1882)
**"Neolithodes diomedeae" (J. E. Benedict, 1895)
**"Neolithodes grimaldii" (A. Milne-Edwards & Bouvier, 1894)
*"Oedignathus" Benedict, 1895
**"Oedignathus inermis" (Stimpson, 1860) — granular claw crab
*"Paralithodes" Brandt, 1848
**"Paralithodes brevipes" (H. Milne Edwards & Lucas, 1841)
**"Paralithodes californiensis" (J. E. Benedict, 1895) — California king crab
**"Paralithodes camtschaticus" (Tilesius, 1815) — red king crab
**"Paralithodes platypus" Brandt, 1850 — blue king crab
**"Paralithodes rathbuni" (J. E. Benedict, 1895)
*"Paralomis" White, 1856
**"Paralomis bouvieri" Hansen, 1908
**"Paralomis cubensis" Chace, 1939
**"Paralomis haigae" Eldredge, 1976
**"Paralomis longipes" Faxon, 1893
**"Paralomis manningi" A. B. Williams, C. R. Smith & Baco, 2000
**"Paralomis multispina" (J. E. Benedict, 1895)
**"Paralomis pacifica" Sakai, 1978
**"Paralomis seagranti" Eldredge, 1976
**"Paralomis verrilli" (J. E. Benedict, 1895)
*"Phyllolithodes" Brandt, 1848
**"Phyllolithodes papillosus" Brandt, 1848 — flatspine triangle crab, heart crab
*"Placetron" Schalfeew, 1892
**"Placetron wosnessenskii" Schalfeew, 1892 — scaled crab
*"Rhinolithodes" Brandt, 1848
**"Rhinolithodes wosnessenskii" Brandt, 1848 — rhinoceros crab


"Glyptolithodes" is found chiefly in the Southern Hemisphere, but extending as far north as California, although all its closest relatives live in the Northern Hemisphere. Its single species, "G. cristatipes" was originally placed in the genus "Rhinolithodes".


"Lithodes aequispinus"

The golden king crab, "Lithodes aequispinus", is caught in the Aleutian Chain off the coast of Alaska. The golden king crab is significantly smaller than the red and blue king crabs, averaging 5–8 lb (2–4 kg). [cite news|url= |title=Now, Live From Alaska, It's King Crab |author=Florence Fabricant |date=2001-03-28 |publisher=The New York Times] It tastes similar to the red and blue king crabs, though perhaps somewhat sweeter. They are considerably cheaper due to their appearance and size.

Significant populations occur in pockets in the waters off the Pribilof and Shumagin Islands, Shelikof Strait, Prince William Sound and at least as far south as lower Chatham Strait in the south-east, where a regular commercial fishery occurs annually.It should be noted they occur in deeper water than the red king crab, often in depths exceeding 300 fathoms (1800 feet).

"Lithodes couesi"

The scarlet king crab, "Lithodes couesi", is not often fished due to its small size and insufficient population to support commercial harvesting.

"Lithodes maja"

"Lithodes maja" occurs in the North Atlantic, including Northern Europe and Canada's east coast. It is not abundant enough to support commercial fishery, and is becoming rare in some areas.


"Oedignathus inermis", the only species in the genus "Oedignathus", is found on the west coast of North America and separately around the coasts of Japan. Its claws and walking legs are covered in numerous tubercles rather than setae or spines, which distinguishes it from other genera.


"Paralithodes camtschaticus"

The red king crab, "Paralithodes camtschaticus", is a very large species, sometimes reaching a carapace width of 11 in (28 cm) and a leg span of 6 ft (1.8 m). Its natural range is the Bering Sea, between the Aleutian Islands and St. Lawrence Island. It can now also be found in the Barents Sea and the European Arctic, where it was intentionally introduced and is now becoming a pest. [ [ Norway fears giant crab invasion] , BBC News, August 9, 2006] [ [ King crabs march towards the Pole] , BBC News, September 29, 2003]

"Paralithodes platypus"

The blue king crab, "Paralithodes platypus", lives near St. Matthew Island and the Pribilof Islands, Alaska, and is the largest of all the king crabs, sometimes exceeding 18 lb (8 kg) in weight. [Cite web |url= |title=King Crab 101 |publisher=Fisherman's Express |year=2000] The blue king crab is often sold as the coveted red king crab because it resembles and tastes similar to red king crab when cooked. Both the St. Matthew and Pribilof blue king crab stocks are classified as overfished and no longer support commercial fisheries.


See also

*Alaskan king crab fishing
*"Deadliest Catch"

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • King crab — King King, n. [AS. cyng, cyning; akin to OS. kuning, D. koning, OHG. kuning, G. k[ o]nig, Icel. konungr, Sw. konung, Dan. konge; formed with a patronymic ending, and fr. the root of E. kin; cf. Icel. konr a man of noble birth. [root]44. See {Kin} …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • king crab — king′ crab′ n. 1) ivt horseshoe crab 2) ivt a large, edible spider crab, Paralithodes camtschatica, of N Pacific waters • Etymology: 1690–1700 …   From formal English to slang

  • king crab — ☆ king crab n. 1. a very large, edible spider crab (Paralithodes camtschatica) of the N Pacific 2. HORSESHOE CRAB …   English World dictionary

  • king crab — noun 1. meat of large cold water crab; mainly leg meat • Syn: ↑Alaska king crab, ↑Alaskan king crab, ↑Alaska crab • Hypernyms: ↑crab, ↑crabmeat • Part Holonyms: ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • king crab — 1. See horseshoe crab. 2. Also called Alaskan king crab, Alaska crab. a large, edible crab, Paralithodes camtschatica, of cold North Pacific waters, esp. abundant along the coasts of Alaska and Japan. [1690 1700] * * * or Alaskan king crab or… …   Universalium

  • king crab — Horse Horse (h[^o]rs), n. [AS. hors; akin to OS. hros, D. & OHG. ros, G. ross, Icel. hross; and perh. to L. currere to run, E. course, current Cf. {Walrus}.] 1. (Zo[ o]l.) A hoofed quadruped of the genus {Equus}; especially, the domestic horse… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • king crab — Limulus Lim u*lus (l[i^]m [ u]*l[u^]s), n.; pl. {Limuli} ( l[imac]). [L., dim. of limus sidelong, askance.] (Zo[ o]l.) The only existing genus of Merostomata. It includes only a few species from the East Indies, and one ({Limulus polyphemus})… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • king crab — /ˈkɪŋ kræb/ (say king krab) noun 1. a large deep sea crab, Pseudocarcinus gigas, found in depths to 600 metres off southern Australia. 2. → horseshoe crab. 3. a large crab, Paralithodes camtschatica, widely distributed in coastal waters of the… …  

  • king crab — noun a) a highly prized crab like crustacean b) a king and a three as a starting hand in Texas hold ’em Syn: stone crab …   Wiktionary

  • king crab — noun 1》 another term for horseshoe crab. 2》 N. Amer. an edible crab of the North Pacific, resembling a spider crab. [Genus Paralithodes.] …   English new terms dictionary

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