With over 4500 known crab species known worldwide, they’ve all got to go somewhere. You may be wondering where all these exciting crustaceans reside. So, where do crabs live?
Crabs are crustaceans that live in saltwater and freshwater habitats worldwide. Crabs can live in shallow and deep waters plus warm and cold waters. Some species of crab can also survive on land. Other species often stay on the ocean floor and can migrate.
You may have noticed that crabs aren’t picky about their habitats. If you’re interested and want to find out more, keep reading.
We’ll go over specific crab locations and why they live here. This guide will provide you with all the facts you need to know about crab habitats.
Let’s dive in.
Where do crabs live?
Crabs are in multiple locations and different types of water worldwide. This includes saltwater and freshwater areas, cold and warm waters, and deep and shallow spots.
Their habitats are much more diverse than other aquatic creatures. All of them are in all of the world’s oceans.
Alongside oceans, they can also live in rivers, ponds, and lakes. They can even live on land and live rock shorelines or estuaries.
Eight hundred fifty crab species live on land and in freshwater habitats. These species often live in tropical areas like islands.
Crabs that live on land or in shallow waters migrate to deeper waters for mating. These migrations can be long, dangerous journeys for the crabs.
Crabs can live in intertidal or subtidal zones. Some live submerged in the water, while some live in and out of the water.
Many species of crabs also live in burrows that protect them against predators. They often do this in soft mud and sand, hiding under plants and rocks for added security.
Since crabs can thrive in most marine habitats, they don’t pick their habitats based on temperature or food availability. So, we’ll talk about specific areas and what species live there.
1. The Atlantic ocean
You can find many crabs in and near the Atlantic ocean. These include the blue crab, famous for its blue claw and greenish-blue shell.
They can be in areas from Nova Scotia to Argentina. In the US, they can be located in Texas, Massachusetts, and the Chesapeake Bay, which borders Virginia and Maryland.
Another crab found along the coasts of America is the stone crab. These crabs have a brownish-red shell with grey spots and large black-tipped claws.
These crabs prefer to live on the bottom of bays, oyster reefs, and rock jetties. They are native to the American Gulf Coast and from Texas to Florida.
The Jonah crab or the sleepy crab is another crab that is native to American waters. They can be found on the coast of New England.
Their shells range from purple-red to brown-red and have thick legs and claws. They are called sleepy crabs because they are slow and easy to catch.
Rock crabs are found on coasts from Canada to South Carolina. They are found in shallow and deep waters across these areas.
These crabs can have a yellow to a brown-red shell. They have white legs and a white belly.
2. The Pacific ocean
The Pacific ocean is home to much larger species of crabs than the Atlantic ocean. An example of this is the Japanese spider crab which is found in the northwest Pacific ocean.
In Japan, they are called takaashigani which means tall legs crab, since they can reach around 16 inches. These massive crabs have the enormous legs of any crab species worldwide.
A common type of crab found in the Pacific ocean is the red sea crab. They live in deep oceans, between 200 to 2000 meters.
Red sea crabs are sensitive to heat and can die from exposure to direct sunlight, so they live in the shade. Although they can die from the heat, they are more active during the daytime.
King crabs are also common inhabitants of the Pacific ocean. They can be found in sandy and muddy areas on beaches and estuaries.
These crabs have adapted to high saline levels in the water too. They will eat dead animals and invertebrates that they find.
Dungeness crabs are also found in these oceans. They live at the bottom of the sea in eelgrass beds and can burrow themselves to hide from predators.
A study has shown that these crabs have been affected by the acidity of the Pacific ocean. The acidity has been dissolving the shells of young Dungeness crabs, which leaves them unable to protect themselves from predators and stunts their growth.
3. The Arctic ocean
The Arctic ocean is also a host to some crab species. In the Barents Sea, populations of snow and king crabs have been growing in the Russian and Norgewian regions of the sea.
You can also find the king crabs in these arctic waters. They are an invasive species introduced into the Barents Sea in the 1960s by Russian scientists.
Norway has benefited from this species and made 9 million dollars from king crab exports in October 2020. But other species on the seafloor haven’t, with native species populations decreasing because of the king crabs.
4. The Indian ocean
The Indian Ocean is home to many great crabs species that are helpful to the environment. An example is a brachyuran crab, a species vital for the deep water ecosystem.
They provide their predators with essential nutrients like proteins, vitamins, minerals, and carbohydrates. They also clean the bottom of the sea floor by removing dead animals and plants.
Another exciting creature that resides in the Indian ocean is the Christmas Island red crab. It is named after where it lives on Christmas Island in Australia.
Fifty million of these crabs migrate to Christmas island every year. They live in wet, rainy areas as their body requires moisture for survival.
You may think of crabs as creatures that live in the ocean. Well, some species of crabs have adapted to live on land and will spend most of their life on beaches and rocks.
Many species of crabs can live on land, including the giant land crab. This crab is also known as the blue land crab.
This crab is found in Bermuda and lives in burrows in muddy coastal areas. But, this species is rare as their populations have suffered from habitat loss, harvesting, poisoning, and predation.
Other land crabs live in America, West Africa, and the Indo-Pacific. They stay protected in swamps, marshes, fields, and mangrove thickets.
In the US, land crabs are found in Florida and Hawaii. They often stay close to the shoreline and don’t go further than 5 miles away.
Sometimes, people with a house in low-lying coastal areas may encounter some in their homes. This is because they try to find protection in quiet locations.
Another massive crab that you can find on land is the coconut crab. These crabs are the largest arthropods that live on land.
They can live for 60 years and prey on birds for food. When they are juveniles, they have shells to protect them from predators, which they then lose when they become adults.
Where do different crab species live?
Crabs live in numerous locations around the world. Most crabs live on the bottom of the sea, while others live on land.
This table shows where the different species live:
|Blue||Coastal lagoons, estuaries||From the Atlantic Coast to the Gulf of Mexico|
|Coconut||Coastal forests with rock crevices and soil||Indo-Pacific oceans|
|Ghost||Sandy shores||Tropical and subtropical regions around the world|
|Green||Rocky shores, cobble beaches, tidal marshes, sand flats||Northeast Atlantic Ocean to the Baltic Sea|
|Hermit||Shallow reefs, shorelines, deep-sea bottoms||Bermuda, Florida, The Caribbean|
|Horseshoe||Shallow coastal waters, soft sandy or muddy bottoms||Atlantic ocean along the North American coastline|
|King||Deep waters||North Pacific Ocean to the Arctic ocean|
|Snow||Deep, cold waters||Sea of Japan, Bering Sea, Canadian Atlantic Coast|
Crabs live in ocean and land habitats all over the world. They live in freshwater, saltwater, deep and shallow water, and hot and cold water.
They live in all of the world’s oceans. This includes the Atlantic ocean, Pacific ocean, Indian ocean, and Arctic ocean.
Different species will live in other areas. Some will prefer deep cold water, while some might like warm shallow waters.