Let’s not get ahead of ourselves. While crabs and lobsters are quite the delicacy, these crustaceans also boast of similarities and differences in, basically, all aspects of their lives. Crabs aren’t greedy for money and lobsters don’t workout on beaches (see Spongebob references if you don’t get it), but they are quite the interesting species.
For one, crabs and their pincers are actually used for communication––making drumming noises to relay a message to their fellow clawed friends. Lobsters, on the other hand, have strong (an understatement) underbellies! It’s been said that their underbellies are as strong as car tires or industrial rubber. If by any chance you see a car using lobsters for tires, I guess you won’t be as surprised. Either way, let’s get into what makes these incredible creatures the interesting crustaceans they are!
Description and Appearance
Possibly the most noticeable difference between these two crustaceans is how they look. Crabs and lobsters, though can look like a father-and-son duo, look quite a bit different from each other, don’t they? Take off the claws and, suddenly, they’re just two different species altogether.
Crabs have unique appearances that make them different from each other. However, it isn’t surprising if only the expert’s eyes can distinguish one from the other. Generally, a crab has a rounded or more oval-shaped body compared to lobsters. Their bodies could either be smooth or filled with size-varying protrusions––offering protection for crabs from their predators. They have ten legs, five for each side of the body. The pair of legs in front, however, has evolved into pincers that crabs use to feed or protect themselves. Crabs can be as small as 0.27 inches (Pea Crab) to a whopping 13 feet long (Japanese Spider Crab). On average, crabs are almost 16 inches in diameter. There are some weird-looking crabs out there, though, like the Hermit Crabs and the Horseshoe Crabs––but both can be very cute to hug… just not in their truest forms. Perhaps, in their plushie forms, you’ll change your mind! Gage Beasley’s Horseshoe Crab Soft Stuffed Plush Toy and Giant Hermit Crab Soft Stuffed Plush Toy are here for you! Though they can be very weird in the wild, they could be the key pieces you need for a good night’s sleep (or a lazy weekend morning).
Gage Beasley’s Horseshoe Crab Soft Stuffed Plush Toy
Gage Beasley’s Giant Hermit Crab Soft Stuffed Plush Toy
Lobsters, on the other hand, do not look the way they do in your head––that is if you’re picturing a red lobster on someone’s plate. The thing is, lobsters don’t really turn red until they’re cooked. Most lobsters are actually brown in color, and in very rare circumstances, even blue, yellow, and white. Let go of the chance of looking for them, though. It’s basically impossible. Lobsters and their brownish colors help them to disguise themselves from predators alongside sand and rocks on the bottom part of the ocean.
The lobster’s body is covered in a hard shell and can grow more than three feet long and vary in weight. They can weigh from a mere 1 pound to a huge 15 pounds––with the heaviest lobster coming in at 44 pounds. That’s a workout right there. Just like crabs, lobsters also have two claws. They also have an antenna, two very small black eyes (not because they were punched), and small sensory hairs on their ten legs. All of these characteristics contribute to a lobster’s ability to hunt for its prey. Considering that lobsters are shy animals, them being aggressive only comes when their prey is close or their territories are being pushed by other lobsters. By then, you’ll be seeing a lobster bout.
Different species of crabs have different diets. Mostly, crabs are omnivores––meaning they eat both plants and animals. Large crabs attempt to live in solitude and hide in burrows where they manage to grab shrimp or fish that get close. The tiny pea crab, however, lives a parasitic life inside of oysters, mussels, and other sea creatures that consume plankton. Crabs are also known to eat algae, clams, seahorses, mussels, and one of their own––as long as they’re smaller.
Lobsters are, surprise surprise, also omnivores! They have a similar diet to crabs, also eating mussels, shrimp, and tiny fish. Because of their innate slow movement, they are physically forced to hunt equally slow-moving prey. Their strong claws make up for that, though, and squeeze their prey. If these crustaceans cant’ find any animals to eat, crabs and lobsters end up eating plants underwater.
Crabs and lobsters have very different mating methods. For crabs, they will use their pincers to attract a mate––and this method is especially normalized by species that have one very large claw (or pincer), like the Fiddler Crab. In other situations, male crabs ought to fight one another for an opportunity to mate with a female. The one who loses finds another female to mate with.
Lobsters, on the other hand, involve just one dominant male that mates with a group of females––no finding out which one has the bigger pincer. Lobsters must be a very handsome species––and could possibly make for an even more handsome plushie! Gage Beasley’s Lifelike Lobster Soft Stuffed Plush Toy will pinch you not to death, but more so to sleep. I mean, just look at it in its tiny black eyes and realistic size! Who wouldn’t want to grab that thing to bed?
Gage Beasley’s Lifelike Lobster Soft Stuffed Plush Toy
This is where it gets interesting. Because of the crab and lobster’s shell, both crustaceans need to get their hard shells away. For crabs, they mate when they molt because there’s no shell in the way. This usually happens when the temperature and the outside air are warm. As for lobsters, females must shed their hard shells before mating––leaving them incredibly prone to predation.
Crabs mate belly to belly and eggs are then fertilized internally. The female can even store the sperm until she needs it, then eventually uses it to fertilize her eggs. The fertilized eggs are then relocated to her underside, near the tail, and remain there until the eggs hatch. When mating, female lobsters will live in caves occupied by male lobsters. In the process, the males are offering protection to the females. Female lobsters carry the sperm from the male and fertilize it in July or August. Just like crabs, lobsters carry the eggs on the underside for ten months. Normally, these females can carry around 8,000 eggs at a time, but it has been known that they are capable of carrying as many as 100,000.
Distribution and Conservation Status
Crabs are basically everywhere and anywhere there’s an ocean. They’re on land and in the water––but they especially love saltwater and brackish (slightly salty) water. Some species of crabs live in the water all of the time, while some love to sunbathe on the sands and shores. Some crabs, however, live exclusively in freshwater and would actually die if put in the ocean. Other species of crabs love the land and will choose to live the least amount of their lives in the water. When that happens, they’re most likely looking to breed.
Lobsters prefer to be in colder habitats and make the most of the ocean floor hiding between rocks and digging through the sand. Some lobsters live in the northern region of the Atlantic Ocean while some are seen in the Gulf of Mexico and the Caribbean Sea. During the winter and spring, lobsters migrate away from the shore as they would want to live in the warmer part of the ocean.
Crabs are known to have a variety of species and a considerably large population. However, the International Union for Conservation of Nature has listed crabs as DD, meaning “data deficient.” There’s not enough information for organizations to work with and their specific numbers remain to be unknown. While humans do actually monitor crabs as closely as they can because of their culinary prowess. The likes of king crabs, Japanese blue crabs, and many other species are routinely caught by humans to be consumed. There have also been limits to how many can be caught, for the crab population’s safety.
As for lobsters, fortunately, their population is steady enough to be deemed a conservation status of Least Concern. American lobsters along the Gulf of Maine come in at a population of 250 million! For further protection, there is a law protecting female lobsters wherein if they are carrying eggs, fishermen must put them back in the water––a great effort from humans.
Though both crustaceans, crabs and lobsters still hold their differences to their cores. They’re fascinating creatures of both land and sea with different mating techniques, habitats, and appearances. Their diets, however, are very much identical. Compared to the whales, these crustaceans are mere mortals to the giants of the sea . Crabs averaging over just a foot long while lobsters are at three, I don’t think they’d have a shot at taking down these mammals. But they don’t have to, they’re omnivores and could just resort to eating plants and hiding in their caves.
Fortunately, their existence in this world seems to remain unharmed. Though crabs aren’t as informative as lobsters, the existence of more than 6,000 of their species could put you to peace. As a culinary piece, both crabs and lobsters are exquisite tastes, yes, but always remember that they, too, should be able to reproduce more than they could be eaten. For the balance of the ecosystem, let them swim and walk sideways freely.