Distinguishing Between King Crab and Alaska Snow Crab

Discover more about the increasing popularity of Alaska snow crab in the Vietnamese market! Learn about how to distinguish it from king crab.


The Vietnamese seafood market has experienced a growing diversity in recent years, with an influx of various types of imported seafood, including the renowned Alaska snow crab. Today, let’s explore the characteristics of Alaska snow crab and how it can be differentiated from king crab!

1 What is Alaska Snow Crab?

What is Alaska Snow Crab?What is Alaska Snow Crab?

Alaska snow crab, scientifically known as Chionoecetes Opilio, is a species of crab. These snow crabs typically inhabit depths ranging from 13 to 2187 meters and thrive in temperatures between 1 and 10 degrees Celsius. They are mainly found in the North Atlantic, such as Greenland and Newfoundland, and in the North Pacific, including Alaska, Japan, and South Korea.

Due to their cold-water habitat, snow crabs have a robust shell and lengthy legs that yield plentiful meat. They primarily feed on arthropods and invertebrates.

Snow crabs are favored by consumers for their sweet taste, delightful aroma, and high nutritional value.

Scientific studies have revealed that snow crabs provide ample essential nutrients, promoting bone health, cardiovascular protection, nervous system function, immune system enhancement, and blood circulation stimulation, among other benefits.

2 How to Differentiate Between King Crab and Alaska Snow Crab

How to differentiate between king crab and Alaska snow crabHow to differentiate between king crab and Alaska snow crab

Snow crabs and king crabs possess distinct characteristics, but if you are unfamiliar with them, it can be challenging to differentiate between the two:


Snow crabs are relatively medium-sized, with a slender shape and longer length. In contrast, king crabs are larger and heavier, featuring prominent spikes.


The legs of snow crabs are light-colored, while those of king crabs are darker, making them easily distinguishable. Snow crabs have thinner legs with fewer spikes, whereas king crabs display larger claws and sharper spikes.

Snow crabs possess four pairs of legs and claws, while king crabs have three pairs of legs and two larger claws.


The paddle of snow crabs is relatively flat and usually lacks spikes. In contrast, the paddle of king crabs is adorned with numerous spikes and is sharp on both sides.

These are the fundamental details about Alaska snow crab and how to differentiate it from king crab. We hope that this information will assist you in identifying these two crab species!