Lobster vs Crab

Written by Dana Mayor
Updated: September 22, 2022
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Key Points

  • Lobsters have an elongated form while crabs’ bodies are relatively round.
  • The former prefer to live on the seafloor while the latter prefer coral reefs or may even live on land.
  • Lobsters possess pretty powerful claws but the strongest of the species is outclassed by the coconut crab.

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

CrabLobster
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
SpeciesBrachuryaNephropidae
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.

The common species of lobsters include the much loved Breton lobster or blue lobster (Homarus gammarus) and the Canadian, Maine, or red lobster (Homarus Americanus).

Some of the most common species of crab include the blue crab (Calinectes sapidus), the purple Dungeness crab (Cancer magister), the giant Alaskan king or Russian crab (Paralithodes camtschaticus), and the snow crab (Chionoecetes opilio).

The species mentioned above are staples of the culinary and the hospitality industries to the delight of countless gourmands all around the world.

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.

Up Next…

Keep reading these posts for more incredible information about key animal facts.

  • Bull Shark vs Great White Shark. 9 Differences: They’re both members of the same large family. Yet one prefers the open ocean, while the other loves shallow water. One is far bigger than the other – and faster too. Click here to be able to unravel these mysteries and more.


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About the Author

I love good books and the occasional cartoon. I am also endlessly intrigued with the beauty of nature and find hummingbirds, puppies, and marine wildlife to be the most magical creatures of all.

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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