Dungeness Crab
Dungeness crabs are large and flavorful. See a photo of the live crab below. Photo by Ken Ishirotie | IST.




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November 2007

Last Updated May 2012

Product Reviews / Main Nibbles / Fish, Seafood & Caviar

Types Of Crabmeat

Page 4: Crab Glossary-Pacific Ocean Crabs


This is Page 4 of a six-page article and glossary. Click on the black links below to see other pages.

U.S. Pacific Ocean Crabs

The major crabs from the Pacific Ocean are the Dungeness Crab, the King Crab (also called Alaskan King Crab) from the far North Pacific, and the Snow Crab.

Dungeness crab (Cancer magister) has been compared by some to the flavor of Maine lobster, but more tender. They are named after Dungeness, Washington, but are found from the Aleutian Islands of Alaska to Santa Cruz, California. Their Latin name means “master crab” because it can measure as wide as 10 inches. The meat is perhaps the sweetest of the Pacific crabs, flavorful and semi-nutty. Perhaps it’s because of its fine diet: It enjoys clams, other crustaceans and small fish.
  Dungeness Crab Meat
Dungeness crab meat. Photo courtesy Willapa Oysters.
Dungeness CrabDungeness crab. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia.org.

King crab is moist and rich; the claws, or “legs,” are the largest and most impressive. The meat is a bit more firm and coarser than Dungeness meat. The body meat is slightly flakier than the leg meat. Despite its name, it is not a crab but a crab-like crustacean. There are about 40 species and 14 genera in the family Lithodidae. The golden king crab was once a food source for the Lower 48, however most of the long crab served in the U.S. today is imported from Russia.


Chionoecetes opilio is the primary species referred to as snow crab; but there are other crabs in the Chionoecetes genus and they are all marketed as snow crab. Snow crabs live in the cold waters of the northern Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. The meat is sweet and delicate, with more fibrous texture than king crab. The claw meat is more firm than that of the shoulder meat. A more economical crab, it is the species often served at chain seafood restaurants.

  Snow Crab
Snow crab. Photo courtesy National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Dungeness, King and Stone crabs are eaten in the shell: Their large, meaty claws are delicious and very popular.


Continue To Page 5: Crab Glossary-Asian & European Crabs

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