Lobster vs Crab

Written by AZ Animals Staff
Published: December 31, 2021
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Lobster vs. Crab: How Do These Crustaceans Differ?

Have you ever given any thought to the differences and similarities between a lobster and a crab? Lobsters have a more extended, narrower appearance than crabs, but this is not the only significant difference. Crabs have longer legs than lobsters, and their legs extend out further from their bodies. Lobsters and crabs occupy different habitat types, but how different are these areas? What gives both kinds of animals a different size or diet, if anything? We’ll take a look at some facts that may answer these questions.

Comparing Crab vs Lobster

Size0.4-157 inches, 1-28 pounds10-20 inches, 2.2-15 pounds
Lifespan1-100 years20-80 years
Habitatcoral reefs and coastlinesrocky ocean beds and sea gardens
Bodyhard-armored shelllong body with a hard shell and eight legs

The 5 Key Differences Between the Lobster and Crab

People who fish for lobster and crab are aware of the different shapes and appearances. However, there are significant differences in both creatures’ distribution and appearance. Although both types of animals occupy many of the same ocean areas, each has substantial differences. Differences in the creatures also account for price differences for the meat and the harvesting areas for these species.

Measured by Length or Weight?

Lobsters are usually 10 to 20 inches long and weigh 2.2 to 15 pounds, while crabs measure 0.4 to 157 inches in diameter and weigh one to 11 pounds. Lobsters have uniformly long and narrow bodies that make identification easy, while crabs have a more circular shape. American Lobsters may measure up to 25 inches and weigh 44 pounds, making them the largest of the lobsters. The largest of the crabs, the Alaskan King Crab, has legs over five feet long and weighs 28 pounds.

A Long or Longer Lifespan?

Some of the lesser-known facts about lobsters and crabs include their lifespans. Lobsters have been known to reach or exceed 100 years old. Depending on the species, crabs may live 20 to 80 years, except in the case of Japanese Spider Crabs, which have reached impressive lifespans of 100 years.

In What Parts of the Ocean Do the Lobsters and Crabs Live?

Although there are lobsters and crabs in many of the same areas, both types of animals have different needs that influence where they live. Lobsters live on the seafloor, blending in with their surroundings because of their natural dark colors in a habitat that allows them to enjoy an omnivorous diet that includes mollusks, fish, and plants.
Crabs usually live around coral reefs or coastlines but may live in freshwater areas or land, depending on the species, and have an omnivorous diet. Most oceans provide ample supplies of algae, bacteria, and prey like mollusks.

How Many Species of Lobsters and Crabs Are There?

Lobsters and crabs boast over 6,050 distinct species. Lobsters and related species, such as crayfish, include around 75 species. On the other hand, crabs have over 6,000 species, with the identification of new species or subspecies always a possibility. Sometimes, identifying lesser-known crab species is a little more complicated when the creatures have an unusual shape.

What is the Typical Crab or Lobster Appearance?

Although lobsters have a reasonably uniform appearance, crabs can have significant differences in their appearances. Lobsters are usually in dark colors that blend in with seafloors, with long bodies and large front claws. Crabs usually have oval-shaped or round bodies and have a broader range of colors than lobsters, including red and blue.

Next Up: What Do Geese Eat?

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About the Author

AZ Animals is a growing team of animals experts, researchers, farmers, conservationists, writers, editors, and -- of course -- pet owners who have come together to help you better understand the animal kingdom and how we interact.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Which is stronger, lobster or crab?

Lobsters have strong claws, capable of exerting over 100 lbs. of pressure. However, Coconut Crabs have a grip that wields about 740 lbs. of force. Both of these types of animals are strong for their size compared to the grip that most people possess, so you want to avoid having either pinch you! The strength of these types of animals is one of their more exciting facts.

Does lobster taste like crab?

The taste of lobster and crab are similar, but significant differences impact how most use the two types of meat. Lobster meat has a less fishy, sweeter flavor than crab meat, which partially accounts for the higher price that some pay. Crabmeat usually tastes more like fish, regardless of the species, and this meat is available in every price range. Identification of which type of meat works best for a meal will ensure more satisfactory results.

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