Can you eat all crabs? (5 Species you can)

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, can you eat all crabs? We will discuss some species of edible and toxic crabs and their origin. We will also talk about the palatability of some of the most widely consumed crabs.

Can you eat all crabs?

You cannot eat all species of crabs. There are over 5000 species of crabs, some of which carry toxins that can be lethal if you eat them. Crabs from the Xanthidae family are usually toxic and are not safe to be eaten. Small crabs carry toxins and poisons that can be deadly if eaten. 

The Toxic Reef Crab, the Mosaic Crab, and the Shawl Crab are found in intertidal and subtidal reef flats across northern Australia. The three species of crab have bright and captivating patterns and are not safe to eat.

Some species of crabs that you can eat are Dungeness Crabs, Blue Crabs, Brown Crabs, Spider Crabs, Stone crabs, and Peekytoe Crabs. While the spider and brown crabs are popular in Europe, the blue crabs are eaten in North America, and on the Atlantic Coast.

Let us look at some species of crabs that you can eat:

  1. Dungeness Crabs 

Dungeness Crabs are found on the coast of Alaska, Mexico and, Baja. Dungeness crabs are large, pink, juicy, and delicious.

  1. Blue crabs

The blue crabs have a green tinge and are found in the US. Both the bodies and claws of the crabs are edible which turn red upon cooking.

  1. Brown Crabs

Brown Crabs are found in the UK and are the most widely consumed species of crab. The Brown crabs have slightly sweet-tasting meat. The brown flesh of the crab is slightly acidic and while the white meat tastes sweet.

  1. Spider Crabs

Spider Crabs have white meat that has a sweet and mild taste. 

  1. Stone Crabs

Stone Crabs are popular in the Florida region of the US. The claws of stone crabs have edible, white meat that is flaky and sweet.

  1. King Crab

King Crab is also referred to as Japanese Crab and Russian crab; among few other names. King Crabs are expensive because they take 7 to 9 years to grow and the edible portion is in the legs and claws only.

Can you eat land crabs?

Some species of land crabs are edible. The land crabs that you can eat include, Blue Land Crab, Small Hermit Crabs, Halloween-Crab, and Ocypode Ghost Crab. Large land crabs which include Coconut crab and the Cardisoma Crab are also edible.

You can eat land crabs that have a healthy diet that includes leaves, fruits, berries, and flowers. The feed-in organic farms make the land crabs safe, however, if the farms expose the crabs to chemical fertilizers and pesticides, they become toxic. The chemicals accumulate in the organs of crabs, therefore it is best to eat only the legs and claw meat. 

The coconut crabs are found on the coasts of the Indian and Pacific oceans. They are called coconut crabs because they can climb up trees and pick up a coconut. The coconut crabs taste like a blend of crab and lobster. The sweet white meat tastes oily and sometimes like coconuts.

The Blue-land crabs are easy to prepare but require careful handling before cooking. The Blue-land crabs are found in Florida. The Blue-land crab is a game species that have a rich and meaty taste which too, resembles both crab and lobster.

The land crabs that you can not eat include Toxic Reef Crab, Mosaic Crab, Shawl Crab are some examples of land crabs that are fatal to humans upon consumption. Some other species of dangerous land crabs are Gorilla crabs, Mud crabs, Pebble crabs, and Rubble crab.

What are the deadliest species of crabs?

Xanthidae is from Australia and is distinguished by their black-tipped claws. Xanthidae crabs are also known as mud crabs, pebble crabs, or rubble crabs.

Some crabs of this family are poisonous. Either bacteria or the diet causes the production of toxins that can harm a person upon eating. IF the crab bites or you get pricked by the spines, it will not harm a person.

The harmful chemicals present in the Xanthidae crabs are either saxitoxin and tetrodotoxin that are accumulated in the muscle and the egg mass. The highly lethal substance is capable of killing a person in as little as half a milligram and remains active even after cooking. 

Saxitoxin is the poison found in some mussels and oysters too. Saxitoxin is a neurotoxin that affects the nervous system and causes paralysis.

In this brief guide, we answered the question, can you eat all crabs? We discussed some species of edible and toxic crabs and their origin. We also talked about the palatability of some of the most widely consumed crabs.

Other FAQs about Crab that you may be interested in.

Can you cook dead blue crabs?

Can you eat all of a Soft Shell Crab? 

How to eat soft shell crab?


Was this helpful?

Thanks for your feedback!