Friday, April 12, 2013

Big Ol' Crab!

Time to answer another chat question! Remember that I had the chance to talk with crab lovers through an online forum? They asked a lot of questions that I didn't get to fully answer, so I'm trying to tackle them now, one by one. This week's question is

What was the largest snow crab ever caught?

Well, the internet is telling me that the largest snow crab (Chionoecetes opilio) known in modern history was caught off of Newfoundland and weighed in at a stunning 26 lbs! How big is that really? Think about the crabs you see at Red Lobster: those guys are around 3 - 4 inches wide (just their carapace, not including their legs) and probably aren't seen bigger than 6 inches wide. They'll weigh in around 0.5 - 2.0 pounds. So, when thinking of a 26 pounder, how big would that guy have been??

 this big? (at the Yeongdeok Snow Crab Festival)

Using the carapace widths and wet weights from my eastern Bering Sea snow crabs, I did a little fast and not-too-legit math:


A 26 pound snow crab could have a carapace width almost 1 foot wide! Imagine a Subway sandwich, but that's just the body of the crab; it will also have 5 legs that are each well over a foot! I wish that someone had taken a picture of this behemoth, but until I find one (or any of you guys send me one), this will have to do:

 can you imagine!?!
(yes, I overlayed an opie on top of my red king crab photo,
but the proportions are about right)

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