Saturday , June 22 2024
How Many Legs Do Crabs Have

How Many Legs Do Crabs Have? Unleashing The Facts

Our planet holds immense beauty in every corner. Be it in the ocean’s great depths or the vast blue sky that flying birds decorate. Yet, what we know about mother earth is not even close to what needs to be discovered. So, here’s a discovery we would like to add to your animal kingdom knowledge.

In 2005, Norwegian scientists concluded that crabs are immune to pain. And it might come as a surprise that crabs are often boiled alive. This makes these short-tailed creatures a topic of conversation. So here we are about to have an extensive discussion about crabs with a particular focus on how many legs crabs have? There can’t be a better time to jump into the article. Come along!

Different Types Of Crabs

You might have come across some pictures of crabs or have had a real-life experience of being in the vicinity of a horseshoe crab. You’ll be amazed to know that just like fishes, crabs also have different names depending on their size, color, and habitat. And hands down, they have been given cool names. So have a look, and you’ll agree with the statement above.

  • Coconut Crabs
  • Soft-shell Crabs
  • Horseshoe Crabs
  • Hermit Crabs
  • Blue Crabs
  • Air Crabs
  • Tasmanian Crabs
  • Christmas Island Red Crabs
  • Japanese Spider Crabs
  • Porcelain Crabs
  • Sea Pen Crabs
  • Ghost Crabs
  • Alaska King Crabs
  • Sally Lightfoot Crabs
  • Colossal Crabs
The Japanese spider crabs have etched their name as the largest crabs on the planet, spanning 12.5 feet from the tip of one front claw to the other.

The list of crabs doesn’t wind up here. But, since we are here to find out, how many legs do crabs have? So, without further putting off this question, let’s get straight to it.

How Many Legs Do Crabs Have?

You’ll get an answer to this question once you take a ride through the world of Decapods. So, let’s get down to work and begin unravelling.

Decapods or simply decapods are marine animals that thrive in warm and shallow tropical waters. Decapod is a Greek word that stands for 10 legs. Some fascinating species fall under the category of decapods. To put it in numbers, 8000 species of crustaceans (phylum Arthropoda) are classified as decapods.

What’s even more awe-inspiring about these species is that they exhibit great diversity in shape and structure. Crabs, shrimps, crayfish, lobsters, and hermit crabs are decapods. To put it in a nutshell, a crab has 10 legs.

Why Are They Referred To As Decapods?

They have five pairs of thoracic legs, earning them the name decapod. About 10% of the decapod species are found in freshwater or terrestrial habitats. However, they occur in all oceans as well as on land. About 10,000 species of decapods have been recognized.


Crabs are amongst the best-known and short-tailed members of the crustacean. Crustaceans are mainly aquatic arthropods with two pairs of appendages in front of their mouth and paired appendages near the mouth that function as jaws.

Sea is the home to most of the crabs, while land crabs thrive in tropical countries worldwide. The story goes that the land crabs pass through their early stages in the sea. You’ll know more about this towards the end of this article.

Anatomy Of A Crab

Not touching a creature’s anatomy when it’s up for discussion won’t do justice. So, let’s have a good look at the anatomy of a crab.

  • A tail
  • 10 legs including two pincers
  • Gills
  • Pincers
  • Upper body shield
  • Claws
  • Antenna
  • Eyes
  • Heart
  • Gonad
  • Cardiac stomach
  • Swimming legs
  • Walking legs
The gills are embedded in a pair of cavities just beneath the sides of the upper body shield. In the case of land crabs, these cavities modify with time to act as lungs.

The tail of crabs draws a line between them and other decapods like shrimp, lobster, and crayfish. Their tails are curled under their midsection. The upper body shield is known as carapace and is usually broad. The first pair of legs of the crabs is modified into pincers or chelae.

What Do Crabs Eat?

They fall under the category of omnivorous and act as scavengers. But they like to choose it for themselves. Many are predatory, and some are even vegetarian. The word of wonder is that no crab is genuinely parasitic.

A Crab eats worms, other crabs, fish, snails, shrimps, and anything with meat.

Now that we know about the dining choices of crabs, another question pops up. Who dines on the crabs?

Who Eats Crabs?

We, humans, consume edible crab of the British and European coasts. Along with the edible crabs, the blue crab and the Dungeness crab are popular among seafood lovers.

In the animal kingdom, long-tailed macaque dines on crabs. This gives it the name of crab-eating macaque. It is found in the forests of southeast Asia.

Magical Moments Of Crabs

The heading may sound silly, but crabs have had a handful of magical moments that explorers recorded on their cameras. Unfortunately, we don’t have the footage, but we’ll do our best to depict the moment with equal fascination. So, let’s gear up for the magical ride.

1. Monsoon March-: The red crabs of Christmas Island hid below the ground for most of the year. During this time, they dine on rotting leaves. With the advent of the monsoon season and the rise in humidity, it is a signal for the red crabs to march. The crabs, even the land crabs, breathe with the help of gills. The gills must remain moist at all costs.

The number of crabs that participate in this march is in the millions. BBC Earth has recorded a march of about 45 million to 100 million red crabs. Monsoon is a relief for them, but as the clouds pass, the water evaporates, and it’s time for them to hide again.

2. Annual Spawning-: A thousand million lives were launched in the ocean by around 120 million female crabs native to Christmas Island. It’s a necessity for the eggs to hatch. The fascinating thing is this crab can’t swim but is highly dedicated towards her eggs.

A female carries around a hundred thousand eggs. During this spawning, a massive chunk of these crabs drowns in the sea when the water knocks them. The humongous number of their eggs turns the color of the clear water into the color of a black soup.

During these moments, the land hides below the million crabs that are out for accomplishing a mission.


The earth indeed is the most beautiful planet. Supporting the lives of millions of creatures who are a sight to behold. In this article, we’ve talked about one such fascinating creature, the Crab.

Names of different crabs, decapods, anatomy of a crab, their eating habits have found a place in this article. Most importantly, we’ve answered how many legs do crabs have? Towards the end, we’ve described two moments in the life of crabs that hold an aura of magic to them.

To sum up, the beauty of the earth, let’s wind up this article with a quote, “The earth has music for those who listen.”

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