Fun King Crab Facts For Kids

Moumita Dutta
Oct 21, 2022 By Moumita Dutta
Originally Published on Aug 05, 2021
Edited by Monisha Kochhar
King crab facts are educational.

King Crabs are descendants of hermit crabs and have the similar attribute of 10 legs and two different-sized claws. King Crabs are covered in thick and hefty shells called the carapace.

Their right claw is larger than the left which helps them to crush their food apart. Red King Crabs are also known as Alaskan King Crab and Kamchatka Crab, they belong to the species of King Crab. Red King Crabs are native to the Gulf of Alaska, the Bering Sea, and the Barents Sea.

Jumbo King Crab legs are the biggest in the crab groups, Alaskan King Crab legs and claws are easily available in the market for their exotic taste. The name Red King Crabs came from the fact that their meat turns red while cooking, though they are mostly orangy, burgundy shade, and brown.

The Red King Crab has five pairs of legs and the first pair is usually used as a hand. Their claws are different in measurement, which are sold in pounds.

Read on to learn more about this crab. You may also like Sally Lightfoot crab facts and hermit crab facts.

King Crab Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a King Crab?

King Crabs belong to the phylum Arthropoda. They are one of the decapod crustaceans found in the cold sea. King crabs are widely traded as food for their large proportions, taste, and slenderness of their meat.

What class of animal does a King Crab belong to?

The King Crab belongs to the class of Malacostraca which means softshell in Latin, and is the largest of six other crustaceans, with more than 40,000 living species divided into 16 orders.  

How many King Crabs are there in the world?

King Crabs populations in the Arctic Ocean are estimated to be around 20 million and the population in the North Pacific Ocean is vaguely lower.

Where does a King Crab live?

King Crabs are found in North Pacific Oceans, Arctic Oceans.

What is a King Crab's habitat?

King Crabs prefer a habitat in areas where the waters are not deep and relatively muddy coastal waters that are less than 200 ft deep. They are extremely adaptable and can live under 650 ft deep as well. Mature King Crabs usually desire cold, fresh water that is between 35-40 degrees Fahrenheit.

Who do King Crabs live with?

King Crabs are isolated creatures, except during mating season or when they face large predators. If attacked by large predators in their habitat they stack themselves on top of each other to appear large and intimidating the predator.

How long does a King Crab live?

On average, a Red King Crab can live for 15-30 years in the wild. Most Red King Crabs normally live 20 years long with a minimum threat by human harvest.

How do they reproduce?

King Crabs reach sexual maturity at the age of five and spawn anywhere around 50,000-500,000 eggs at once. Their mating season starts from spring and in the month of May, the female King Crab migrates to areas that are warmer and depthless waters for the safety of the eggs.

The male King Crabs join the female later to fertilize the eggs and then the female will carry these fertilized eggs in their abdominal laps for 12 months till they are hatched.

The fifth set of legs of a King Crab help them to clean the fertilized eggs after being hatched. Golden King Crab eggs are larger when compared to Red or Blue King Crabs.

What is their conservation status?

The King Crab population is closely supervised to avoid overexploitation. As per the regulations, only males with a carapace width of seven inches or wider can be retained. All females and males less than legal size should be returned unharmed back to the water. Humans harvest King Crabs for their tender meat.

King Crab Fun Facts

What do King Crabs look like?

King Crabs are found in cold seas. They are a biological group of crabs of decapod crustaceans. Many species of crabs are widely caught for their large size and the taste of their meat.

Male King Crabs grow larger than the female, they are identified with the help of their different shapes. The female has a wide, paper fan-shaped abdomen whereas the male has a triangle-shaped abdomen. They have 10 legs, a hard exoskeleton, and can come in varying colors.

Facts and information on Red King Crab, Alaskan King Crab, and other related crabs are interesting.

How cute are they?

On a scale of 1-10, King Crabs score 2 for their cuteness. They are large in dimensions and are covered in sharp spines on their carapace. They have five pairs of legs.

How do they communicate?

King Crabs communicate through the sense of touching and being able to tell the surrounding areas by the antenna on their head. Red King Crabs can communicate chemically using their pheromones and chemicals as a warning sign and the females implying to be ready to mate.

How big is a King Crab?

King Crabs are one of the gigantic crab species known to humankind. Few crabs can weigh more than 11 lb (5 kg), which is heftier than a house cat.

Male crabs grow larger than females and are identified by their different shapes. The heftiest King Crabs ever caught were roughly 28 lb (12.7 kg), which is the same size as a Welsh Corgi.

How much does a King Crab weigh?

An adult king crab can weigh up to 11 lb (5 kg) and have a leg span of  5-6 ft (152-182 cm), similar to humans. The biggest King Crab ever found weighed 28 lb (12.7 kg)!

What are their male and female names of the species?

Like all other crabs, a male king crab is called a buck, and a female is called a jenny.

What would you call a baby King Crab?

Newborn crabs are called zoea, they drift away from their mother after hatching. Young crabs have brittle outer skin and carved limbs that are transparent and have a segmented tail used for swimming and they are covered with spikes all over their body.

Zoea is a smaller version of their parents but changes the outer skin. Its legs are developed from crawling around the rocks as it cannot swim.

What do they eat?

King Crabs are carnivores in nature. They eat small creatures such as snails, mussels, clams, worms, sea urchins, fishes, barnacles, and smaller species of crabs. King Crabs are not picky eaters and they eat protozoon which is easier to catch in their surroundings.

Are they harmful?

No, King Crabs are not aggressive. Despite the large size and thorny shells, the King Crab is not dangerous to humans. However, a few of them that are related to the non-poisonous King Crab are also poisonous, so we need to be very careful while choosing the crabs.

Would they make a good pet?

King Crabs are not domesticated and they grow too large for an aquarium. They can grow up to 5-6 ft, similar to the height of an average human. King Crabs have five pairs of legs and are covered with spiny thorns all over its body, so maybe not the best pet.

Did you know...

Red King Crab blood contains hemocyanin which turns their blood blue. The Red King Crab has 10 legs with two front different shaped claws. Red King Crab can eat anything that they can crush with their claws. The Blue King Crab legs are smaller compared to the King Crab but have the same thickness.

King Crabs walk along the ocean floor because they cannot swim. King Crab Larvae settle down on the ocean floor and start crawling and behave like adult crabs.

Juvenile crabs cast off their carapace regularly as they grow and lose their ability to swim. Though they cannot swim they can travel around at a speed of 7 mph (11.3 kph).

The giant Pacific octopus is one of the most uncontrollable predators of Red King Crabs.

The Blue King Crab is a species of crabs that lives near the Pribilof Islands and St. Matthew Island. The Western Aleutian Islands and Pribilof Islands are closed for hunting King Crab. Peruvian King Crabs are found in the Southern Anatomy extending to the north of California.

The Red King Crab (Paralithodes camtschaticus) comes under the orders of decapods. It is easily found in a shop near you as they are harvested for their meat, and a large proportion, 1.5 legs-2.5 legs of King Crab weigh up to three pounds. The Red King Crab meat is kept artificially expensive to prevent overfishing in the fisheries.

Red King Crab constitutes 90% of the annual King Crab harvest.

In many places, Golden King Crabs are delivered or collected from fish dock shops. The Golden King Crab is slightly smaller than the Blue King Crab.

Blue King Crab has a similar taste as Red King Crab. The taste of Red King Crab roe is delicious and can be eaten with rice and sushi. King Crab legs are cooked and sold in the shop near ports and beaches in Japan.

Approximately, there are 40 species of King Crabs. Mostly in Alaska, the commercially harvested species are the Red King Crab, the Blue King Crab, and the Golden King Crab. It can be dangerous to fish these crabs as they live in cold waters.

Why are they called King Crabs?

King Crabs are known to be the most gigantic crabs species and they are known as kings for their size.

How do they find their new shell?

In the entire lifespan of a Red King Crab, it can cast off its shell 20 times. It grows a new and bigger shell inside of the existing shell.

To cast off the carapace, the King Crab absorbs fresh water until it inflates and bursts out of it. After removing the outer carapace the new carapace can be soft for a few days making the King Crab unshielded from the predators.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other arthropods including the orb-weaver spider, or a slipper lobster.

You can even occupy yourself at home by drawing one on our king crab coloring pages.

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Written by Moumita Dutta

Bachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

Moumita Dutta picture

Moumita DuttaBachelor of Arts specializing in Journalism and Mass Communication, Postgraduate Diploma in Sports Management

A content writer and editor with a passion for sports, Moumita has honed her skills in producing compelling match reports and stories about sporting heroes. She holds a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication from the Indian Institute of Social Welfare and Business Management, Calcutta University, alongside a postgraduate diploma in Sports Management.

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