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Marine Animal Encyclopedia

Edible Crab Cancer pagurus

The oval carapace of the edible crab has a characteristically “scalloped” or “piecrust” edge around the front and sides. Its huge pincers are distinctively black-tipped, while the body is purple-brown in small individuals and reddish brown in larger ones. Edible crabs breed year-round, the females incubating their eggs for seven to eight months. This crab is caught in large numbers and is highly valued as a luxury food.

Edible Crabzoom image
  • Subphylum Crustacea
  • Length Up to 6 in (16 cm)
  • Habitat Intertidal zone to 330 ft (100 m), in rock pools and muddy sand offshore
  • Distribution Northeastern Atlantic and North Sea; introduced to parts of the Mediterranean
Edible Crab habitat mapzoom image