Kamchatka (or, as called in America, red king, Alaskan king crab) crab is one of the most famous inhabitants of the Barents Sea. However, few people know that the King crab is not a crab at all, and it does not come from the Barents Sea, but from the Bering Sea. Despite this, the King crab has become kind of a “gold standard” among sea delicacies and its popularity is well-deserved.

King Crab: Introduction

King (royal) crab (lat. Paralithodes camtschaticus) is a species of part-tailed crayfish from the family Lithodidae, outwardly similar to "real" crabs – representatives of short-legged crayfish (lat. Brachyura). Yes, it is a crayfish: from the point of view of carcinologists (the so-called specialists in crustaceans), the king crab is actually... a hermit crab. It differs from "true" crabs by the underdeveloped fifth pair of walking legs and the asymmetric abdomen in females.

King crabs received the unofficial nickname “royal” not only for their great taste, but also for their size: the abdomen of an adult male reaches 28 cm in diameter, and the weight of individuals exceeds 8 kg.

The homeland of the king crab is the Far East, but at the beginning of the 20th century it was settled in the Barents Sea. After several unsuccessful attempts, the new species did well, and is now harvested in the Northern Basin on an industrial scale.

The king crab feeds mainly on food of animal origin. Its diet includes sea urchins, cod caviar, starfish, worms and small crayfish, in a word, almost everything that can be found at the bottom of the sea (the king crab cannot swim, therefore, it moves “on foot”).

crab parts

The body of the Red King Crab consists of a head-chest, fused with a small abdomen, and five pairs of legs. The fifth smallest pair is “hidden” in the gills. The cephalothorax and abdomen are protected by a dense chitinous carapace with spikes. The limbs are also covered with a chitin. Dense external “skeleton” not only protects a crab, but also serves as a place of attachment for muscles. Edible parts of Red King crab are claws, legs and places of attachment of limbs to the shell.

  • Dactylus
  • Merus
  • Abdomen
  • Propus
  • Chela
  • Cluster
  • Carpus
  • Legs
  • Whole crab

Crab meat: a healthy delicacy

King crab meat has excellent taste and dietary properties. It practically does not contain fats and carbohydrates, but it is rich in easily digestible protein and trace elements, such as phosphorus, magnesium and potassium. Only 35 g of crab meat fully satisfy the body's daily requirement for vitamin B12. Particularly useful is the meat from the phalanges of the limbs of the crab. It contains a lot of iodine, which is necessary for the normal functioning of the thyroid gland.

NUTRIENTS per 100 g % of RDI
Protein 18.2 g 19.78 %
Total Fat 1.0 g 1.49 %
Total Carbohydrate .0 g .00 %
Dietary Fiber .0 g .00 %
Water 79.0 g 2.91 %
CALORIES 82 kcal 5.37 %
  • Vitamins: B12, PP, B6, B5, E, B9, B2, B1, A, C
  • Minerals: Cu, Se, Zn, P, Na, Mg, Ca, K

More about the red king crab

Hemolymp (equivalent of blood) of the king crab quickly oxidizes in the air, acquiring a bluish color, therefore, these crabs are sometimes called blue-blooded animals. This is not entirely accurate – in the restored form, the hemolymph is almost colorless.

The short fifth pair of limbs in many species of hermit crabs serves to hold the shell. The dense shell of king crabs eliminates the need to seek a shell or other shelter, but these legs are still too short and weak for walking.

On the contrary, the rest of the king crab’s walking limbs are so long that they allow it to make annual migrations along the bottom at a distance of up to 150 km and even more - kilometers.

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