Crabs and lobsters are aquatic animals that have commercial importance as seafood. Crabs are eaten all over the world. Lobsters are considered exotic food and are a tad expensive when compared to other seafood.
Types of lobster include the American lobster, which is common, and Audresselles, the royal blue lobster which is relatively rare.
King Crabs are the most popular variety of crabs. Soft shell crabs also have loyal following. Other crabs that are commonly found in the menu include snow crab, golden king crab, red and blue king crabs.
Taste of crab vs lobster
Crabs range from mild sweet to a briny sea taste depending on the variety that is savored. The merus part of the legs of a crab is considered the tastiest.
Lobster meat is slightly more hard than crabs and not as sweet. The small legs and claws contain maximum meat and taste delicious and tender.
Many a delicious recipe uses crabs which can be consumed whole or only claws or legs etc. In Asia spices are added generously to improve crab culinary experience. Popular Asian crab recipes include 'Chilli Crab' and 'Masala Crab'. In many countries, crab meat is extracted and then cooked. Crab is an integral part of the French dish Bisque. Soft shell crabs are eaten whole along with their shells, while crab meat is extracted and then placed inside its shell in a British dish called 'Cromer crab'. Mixing crab meat with flour to make crab cake is popular in parts of the Eastern United States.
Lobsters are used in soups, lobster rolls and bisque. Many recipes use lobster dipped in clarified butter giving it a sweet taste. Lobsters are steamed or boiled alive prior to baking, grilling or frying. Lobster Thermidor and Lobster Newberg are popular recipes.
Crab and lobster fishing is a commercially important business and caters to the ever increasing demand for crabs and lobsters from the food industry all over the world.
Prices of crabs vary depending on the type and size of crab. A small crab can cost around $3 while a jumbo strawberry crab can be priced anywhere between $20 to $30.
Lobsters are more expensive and considered luxury food. Even though lobster prices are on a downtrend the past year or so, a pound of lobster can cost around $10 to $6, thus a 5 pound lobster can cost a whopping $50.
Differences in anatomy
Crabs have a thick exoskeleton and one pair of claws or chelae. The claws in males are larger and sometimes, one is larger than the other and is primarily used for attracting a mate. Male crabs have narrow and triangular shaped abdomens when compared to female crabs which have more rounded abdomen. Crabs thus show distinct sexual dimorphism. Crabs walk sideways due to the articulation of legs. There are crabs that do walk forwards and backwards too, but the sideways gait is the most efficient.
Lobsters have strong but light weight exoskeleton and striated muscles enabling quick movement. Their articulated limbs allow bending at various points. They molt during their life cycle for growth and have ten walking legs of which front two are modified into giant claws. They have very poor eyesight and no nervous system. They walk slowly on the sea floor but are capable of swimming backwards by the curling and uncurling movement of their abdomen. They are very fast at this kind of locomotion which is adopted as an escape mechanism (caridoid escape reaction).
Social Behavior Patterns of Crabs vs Lobsters
Crabs exhibit a complex social behavior pattern. Using their pincers they communicate with each other. They display aggression and usually males contest with each other for access to females. They even fight among themselves for hiding holes and caves. They work together for providing their family with food and protection. During mating season they find comfortable places for the females to release eggs.
Lobsters are loners and are usually found living singly in burrows and under rocks. They do have a rather unique feature in that lobsters do not die due to aging. They become stronger and more fertile with age due to the presence of enzyme telomerase (repairs DNA sequences). Thus lobsters continue to live until caught, injured or inflicted by disease.
Differences in Eating Habits
Crabs are omnivores and eat algae, mollusks, fungi, bacteria, other crustaceans etc. Their ideal diet consists of a mixture of plant and animal matter.
Lobsters are omnivores too and feed on fishes, worms and plant life. They do resort to cannibalism in captivity. They eat their shed skin during molting.
Crabs are found in freshwater and marine waters all over the world. They do favor the tropical and semi tropical areas though. They live in water and on land and can vary in size from a few millimeters in size like the pea crab to a few meters in size like the Japanese spider crab (4 m leg span). Lobsters live at the muddy and sandy bottoms of seas and oceans. The largest lobster caught (Nova Scotia, Canada) weighed 20.15 kilograms.
Did You Know?
The videos below show some of the interesting facts you probably didn't know about Lobsters and Crabs: