Chionoecetes opilio, also referred to as opilio crab, is a type of snow crab. The genus Chionecetes translates to snow, and covers 7 species of snow crab. The name “snow crab” is derived from the fact that these crabs are from the cold northern Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Its legs are most commonly eaten after they have been boiled, baked, steamed or grilled. These crabs have eight legs and a pair of claws.
Snow crabs moult in order to grow, as their hard shells disable them from growing in size. Before moulting, the snow crabs will take in plenty of water and inflate inside their shell until it cracks open. After this, they will detach from the old shell and take in additional amounts of water to expand in size. After this moulting process, the crabs are extremely soft and defenceless against predators until their brand-new shell solidifies.
During catching season, only male crabs above a certain size may be caught. Snow crabs are caught at 30 to 1,500 feet underwater, from sandy bottoms. In addition, catching is banned during mating and moulting phases.
Horsehair crab (Erimacrus isenbeckii) is mainly found in the Sea of Okhotsk and the Bering Sea. Horsehair crabs can be found in sandy environments, that can range from shallow depths to about 350 meters.
These crabs have soft spines all over their hard shell and legs.
Blue crab (Callinectes sapidus) is a species of crab from the western Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. Blue crabs appear greenish-blue due to the interaction of several pigments, like alpha-crustacyanin with astaxanthin. Once cooked, alpha-crustacyanin will break down, leaving behind the red pigment astaxanthin, which causes the crabs to turn orange-red in colour. The common cooking methods of these crabs include: boiling, broiling, frying, grilling, steaming and sauté. These crabs have a pair of front claws, six walking legs and two swimming legs.
Males generally grow bigger than their female counterparts, growing to between five and eight inches.