Crabs include both true crabs and false crabs. The true crabs are the crustaceans of the infraorder Brachyura. Meanwhile, the false crabs can be found in the sister infraorder Anomura. This is the case because convergent evolution has caused multiple groups of crustaceans to take on a crab-like form. Unsurprisingly, the true crabs are one of those groups. Others include but are not limited to the king crabs, the hermit crabs, and the porcelain crabs. Moving on, humans have been eating crabs since prehistoric times. Crabs aren't the most convenient kind of food that can be found out there. Even so, food scarcity has been a constant concern of the human experience, so it should come as no surprise to learn that a wide range of people from a wide range of cultures made regular use of them. Something that is particularly true because crabs can be very tasty. Now, people are eating more crabs than ever before. However, it has become very clear that certain kinds of crab are much more expensive than the others.
5. Dungeness Crabs - $60 For 2 Pounds
The Dungeness crab is named for Dungeness, WA. Even so, it can be found in the waters off of much of the western coast of North America. Generally speaking, this means a range from the Aleutian Islands in Alaska to Point Conception in California. However, it isn't unknown for people to come upon Dungeness crabs as far south as Magdalena Bay in the Mexican state of Baja California Sur. These crabs have been very popular for a very long time. Fortunately, the species is still in good condition, so much so that it has actually been recommended as an alternative to other marine species that have been overfished. Still, Dungeness crabs aren't exactly immune from the factors that are affecting other marine species, as shown by how they are being affected by the ongoing acidification of the oceans. For the time being, a couple of pounds of Dungeness crabs can cost $60.
4. Snow Crabs - $66 For 2 Pounds
Generally speaking, people associate crabs with water. However, it is interesting to note that there are a number of terrestrial crabs that spend either all or almost all of their adult lives on land. To name an example, there is the coconut crab, which runs the risk of drowning when they release their larvae into the water because their weight means that they won't survive the experience if they are swept into the sea. Despite the name, snow crabs aren't one of the terrestrial crabs. Instead, there seems to be different explanations for why they are called the way they are. One explanation says that it is because snow crabs tend to be found in the North Atlantic as well as the North Pacific. Another explanation says that it is because snow crabs have meat that turns snow white when cooked. Whatever the case, snow crabs are quite prized, as shown by how just a couple of pounds can sell for $66.
3. Golden King Crabs - $136 For 2 Pounds
Golden king crabs are a different kind of king crab. In total, there are three kinds of king crab that can support commercial fishing. Golden king crabs are the smallest. Furthermore, they are the least popular as well. Still, golden king crabs are quite expensive in their own right, as shown by how a couple of pounds can sell for $136. As a result, it should come as no surprise to learn that people have been specifically catching them for some time. Location-wise, golden king crabs can be found in the waters close to Alaska, British Columbia, and the Aleutian Islands. They can also be found in the waters of the Russian Far East as well as Japan, though they have lower population density in those regions.
2. Alaskan King Crabs - $180 For 2 Pounds
King crabs are one of the groups of crustaceans from the infraorder Anomura that took on crab-like forms. There is speculation that they are descended from hermit crabs, which would explain why the two have certain anatomical similarities that aren't found in other crabs. Still, this remains a contentious position in the right circles. Regardless, king crabs have a reputation for being some of the most expensive crabs that can be found out there. In part, this is because they are delicious, which tends to make a food more popular and thus more expensive. However, there are also other factors that drive up their prices. To name an example, king crabs tend to live in colder, deeper waters, thus complicating efforts to catch them. For proof, look no further than Alaskan king crabs because Alaskan king crab fishermen are said to have 80 times the fatality rate of the average worker. As such, these crabs cost about $180 for a couple of pounds.
1. Japanese Spider Crabs - $100 to $500 Per Plate
Most people wouldn't consider crabs to be the scariest animals that can be found out there. Still, some crabs are much more intimidating-looking than others. For instance, consider the Japanese spider crab, which is much more unnerving than its smaller European counterpart. For context, it has a carapace that can reach 40 cm in width. Furthermore, its leg span can reach 3.7 m from claw to claw, which is something that no living arthropod can match. Amusingly, the huge monster that is the Japanese spider crab is also a delicacy in Japan as well as some of Japan's neighbors. Supposedly, a single plate can sell for $100 to $500. As such, it is perhaps unsurprising to learn that the Japanese spider crab is under serious threat, though various measures such as restocking are being used to combat that.
What Makes Some Crabs More Expensive Than Others?
There are a number of factors that cause some crabs to become more expensive than others. For example, the interaction of supply and demand is a major factor. Some crabs are just more in-demand than others. As a result, there is more competition for every single one of those crabs, which in turn, drives up the price for them. This can be something of a self-reinforcing phenomenon in the sense that high demand causes something to become perceived in a better light, thus resulting in continuing high demand from continuing consumer interest. Meanwhile, the degree of effort needed to catch a particular kind of crab has a huge effect on its price as well. There are certain kinds of crab such as green crabs that are readily available, so much so that they are regarded as invasive pests in some of the places to which they have been introduced. However, those aren't the ones that make it to the top of these lists. Instead, the most expensive crabs are Alaskan king crabs and the like, which aren't just found in distant waters but also have a very limited window of availability. If the fishermen are lucky, the season for that particular species can be as long as four weeks; if the fishermen are unlucky, well, suffice to say that the Alaskan king crab season will be closer to four days in duration. On top of these, there is the matter of getting crabs to the consumers. They don't keep for very long. As a result, the further that a place is far from the source of the crabs, the more expensive the crabs become because of the costs needed to keep them fresh.
Written by Dana Hanson
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