What is an Opilio Crab?

By Regina Sass

Opilio Crabs live in a very limited area of the world and are consumed mostly in the countries that harvest them, namely Russia, Japan, Canada and the United States.

Family

The opilio crab belongs to the spider crab family and is sold as snow crab. There are four distinct species of opilio crab: Chionoecetes opilio, C.hairdi, C. tanneri and C. japonicus

Habitat

The opilio crab lives in northen shallow water parts of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, primarily around Alaska, Russia, Quebec, new Brunswick and Newfoundland.

Features

The opilio crab has four pairs of very long legs that make the rest of the oval shaped body seem small. The crab weights between 2 and 5 lbs.

Colors

The opilio crab has a red/orange colored back and legs that are orange near the body and tan or white on the bottom.

Uses

Opilio is fished commercially as a food item. The season is very short--just the month of January.