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Chionoecetes bairdi.jpg
Chionoecetes bairdi
Daegu Yeongdeok crab.jpg
Chionoecetes opilio
Scientific classification

Krøyer, 1838

See text

Chionoecetes is a genus of crabs that live in the northern Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.[1]

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 (οιχητης, oiketes);[2] opilio means shepherd, and C. opilio is the primary species referred to as snow crab. Marketing strategies, however, employ snow crab for anything in the genus Chionoecetes. Snow crab refers to them being commonly found in cold, northern oceans.

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 East Sea, the Bering Sea, the Gulf of Alaska, Norton Sound, and even as far south as California for Chionoecetes bairdi.


Bagged frozen snow crab legs for sale in a supermarket.

Seven extant species are currently recognised in the genus:[3]


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.[4]


  1. ^ L. S. Jadamec, W. E. Donaldson & P. Cullenberg (1999). Biological Field Techniques for Chionoecetes crabs. University of Alaska Sea Grant College Program. Part 1 Archived 2005-11-13 at the Wayback Machine. Part 2
  2. ^ Henrik Kröyer (1838). "Conspectus Crustaceorum Groenlandiae" [Survey of the crustaceans of Greenland]. Naturhistorisk Tidsskrift (in Latin). 2: 249–261.
  3. ^ Peter K. L. Ng, Danièle Guinot & Peter J. F. Davie (2008). "Systema Brachyurorum: Part I. An annotated checklist of extant Brachyuran crabs of the world" (PDF). Raffles Bulletin of Zoology. 17: 1–286. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2011-06-06.
  4. ^ "Freash Maryland Seafood Delivered Right To Your Door". Retrieved 2019-01-04.

External links[edit]