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Chionoecetes
Chionoecetes bairdi.jpg
Chionoecetes bairdi
Daegu Yeongdeok crab.jpg
Chionoecetes opilio
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Crustacea
Class: Malacostraca
Order: Decapoda
Infraorder: Brachyura
Family: Oregoniidae
Genus: Chionoecetes
Krøyer, 1838
Species

See text

Chionoecetes is a genus of crabs that live in the northern Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.

Other names for crabs in this genus include "queen crab" (in Canada) and "spider crab" – they are known by different names in different areas of the world. The generic name Chionoecetes means snow (χιών, chion) inhabitant (οἰκητης, oiketes); opilio means shepherd, and C. opilio is the primary species referred to as snow crab. Marketing strategies, however, employ snow crab for any species in the genus Chionoecetes. The name "snow crab" refers to their being commonly found in cold northern oceans.

General

Snow crab are caught as far north as the Arctic Ocean, from Newfoundland to Greenland and north of Norway in the Atlantic Ocean, and across the Pacific Ocean, including the Sea of Japan, the Bering Sea, the Gulf of Alaska, Norton Sound, and even as far south as California for Chionoecetes bairdi.

In 2019 the Norwegian Supreme Court ruled that the species is considered a sedentary species living on the seabed, and thus governed by the United Nations Law of the Sea.

Species

Frozen Snow Crab Legs
Bagged frozen snow crab legs for sale in a supermarket

Seven extant species are currently recognised in the genus:

  • Chionoecetes angulatus Rathbun, 1893 – triangle tanner crab
  • Chionoecetes bairdi Rathbun, 1893 – tanner crab, bairdi, or inshore tanner crab
  • Chionoecetes elongatus Rathbun, 1925
  • Chionoecetes japonicus Rathbun, 1932 – beni-zuwai crab
  • Chionoecetes opilio (Fabricius, 1788) – snow crab or opilio
  • Chionoecetes pacificus Sakai, 1978
  • Chionoecetes tanneri Rathbun, 1893 – grooved tanner crab

Cookery

See also: Crab meat and List of crab dishes

Crabs are prepared and eaten as a dish in many different ways all over the world. The legs are usually served in clusters and are steamed, boiled, or grilled. Snow crab can also be used as an ingredient in other dishes such as snow crab macaroni and cheese.

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