Horsehair Crabs| Amazing Facts Recipes And Habitat

A horsehair crab is a famous seafood in Japan, and this crab lives at the bottom of Okhotsk and the western Bering Sea. 

Horsehair crabs, also known as king crabs and tangle crabs, are a type of marine crab belonging to the Limulidae family. They are found mainly in the coastal waters of East Asia, particularly in Japan, China, Korea, and Taiwan.

Horsehair scabs are characterized by their thin and long legs, which are covered with delicate hair-like structures. They have a round body with a hard exoskeleton and a small head with two large compound eyes. They are generally small, with a carapace width of about 10-15 cm. 

Horsehair crabs are considered a delicacy in East Asia and are widely used in traditional Chinese and Korean cuisine. They are commonly eaten steamed and boiled and served with a dipping sauce. 

Let’s learn more about horse hair crabs. 

What do horse hair crabs look like

What do horse hair crabs look like?

A horsehair crab is the same as a hermit crab. It is small in size and easy to prepare for food. 

The body of the horsehair crab is relatively small, measuring only a few inches in diameter. It is oval-shaped and covered in a tough brown shell. The crab’s legs are rather long in proportion to its body, with two large, claw-like pincers for catching prey and defending itself.

One of the unique features of the horsehair crab is its hairy appearance. The crab’s shell is covered in long, thin, black hairs that give it a somewhat furry appearance. These hairs are sensory organs that the crab uses to detect prey and navigate its environment.

The horsehair crab is also known for its bright orange roe, considered a delicacy in some parts of the world. When cooked, the crab turns reddish-brown, and its meat is sweet and tender.

Overall, the horsehair crab is a fascinating and unique creature with a distinctive appearance and is prized for its delicious meat.

What is the horsehair crab’s habitat?

The horsehair crab likes to live in the benthic environment and on the surface. The crab frequently lives at the bottom of shallow water.

They are usually found in freshwater bodies such as rivers, streams, and lakes during their juvenile stage and then migrate to brackish or saltwater estuaries for their adult stage.

These crabs are known for burrowing in soft substrates such as mud, sand, and gravel, creating deep caves to hide and protect themselves from predators. They prefer areas with moderate water flow and are often found in areas with vegetation or debris for cover. Horsehair crabs are also known to migrate to deeper waters during the winter months when the water temperature drops.

In the sea, male crabs prefer warmer water places for habitat, and females live in colder water places. 

How do horsehair crabs reproduce?

The reproductive habits of the male and female crabs are under observation. These crabs are not bred in a fixed season. 

During mating, male crabs locate female crabs and attach themselves to the female’s back with their claws. The male then fertilizes the female’s eggs as she lays them in shallow water or tidal flats.

The female horsehair crab can lay up to 120,000 eggs in a single batch, which hatch into larvae after about ten days. The larvae then go through several stages of development before becoming adult crabs, which takes around 2-3 years.

It is worth noting that they are commonly referred to as “horseshoe crabs.” 

How do they communicate? Horsehair crabs

Horsehair crabs rely on their senses, particularly their chemoreceptors, and chelicerae, to communicate and navigate their environment. 

These crabs have specialized structures on their legs and bodies called chemoreceptors which permit them to detect chemicals in the water. These chemicals can indicate the presence of food, predators, and potential mates. By sensing these chemicals, horsehair crabs can respond appropriately, either by moving towards or away from the source of the chemical signal. 

Horsehair crabs also use tactile cues to communicate. Horsehair Crabs have specialized appendages on their bodies called chelicerae, which they use to touch and feel their environment. They can use these appendages to sense the presence of other animals, including potential mates and predators. They can also use their chelicerae to fight off other crabs and defend themselves against predators. 

How long does a horsehair crab live

How long does a horsehair crab live?

The lifespan of horsehair crabs is not known yet. The horsehair crabs live up to 8-10 years. They live in a considerable ocean depth far away from humans, so their exact lifespan has yet to be discovered. 

Is hairy crab delicious?

Hairy crab can be delicious, with its umami and superb sweetness, and garnished with a suitable quantity of salt. However, it can even be used to create multiple delicious dishes. One dish you must try is kani miso, served inside the shell.


Horsehair crabs can be a delicacy and crucial cultural food but can also negatively impact the local ecosystem. They are considered invasive in some areas and can compete with native species for resources, damage habitats, and disrupt food webs. 

In conclusion, the conservation and management of horsehair crabs should be approached with a balance between preserving cultural and economic benefits and minimizing negative environmental impacts. 

Effective management strategies involve controlling their spread, monitoring their population, and regulating harvesting practices.

Leave a Comment