Jonah Crabs| Amazing Facts Recipes And Habitat

Jonah crabs are included in the marine species living in eastern North America’s water. Its geographic area is from Canada to Florida.

It is preferred for its delicious taste, meat, and large claws and legs. It is lower coasted than other crab species. Its carapace is rough-edged and covered with yellow spots and dark-tipped claws.

This crabs species is related to the European crabs in the Western Atlantic. 

Jonah crab classification and scientific name:

This type of crab is known by its scientific name, Cancer borealis. It is related to the genus of cancer and Atlantic rock crabs. The Malacostraca class consists of six classes of crustaceans, including crabs, shrimps, lobsters, crayfish, prawns, and krills. 

Crabs belong to the family Cancridae with six existing genera. The presence of such crabs shows that there is no lobster because Jonah crabs eat them. 

Jonah crab appearance

Jonah crabs appearance:

Jonah crabs are measured by their carapace, which shows their weight. Male crabs have a width of 222mm of the carapace, while females are no more than 150mm.

Jonah crabs have an oval-shaped carapace. They have two larger and stronger claws and eight thick legs. Their top color is red and yellow inside.


They crabs live along the Atlantic coast of North America. Their range starts from Nova Scotia and ends Southwards. 

These crabs are found from the Intertidal zone to about 640 meters. They are mostly found in a depth of 50-300 meters and temperature of about 8-14 Celsius. They live in the sand, rock, and clay. 


They eat arthropods, snails, algae, and mussels.

Jonah crab reproduction and lifespan:

They reproduce when the carapace growth reaches about 128mm for male crabs and 89mm for males. They usually reproduce by spawning in late winter and early spring. A female crab drops one egg clutch annually or up to five broods. Each clutch carries between 160,000-1,000,000 eggs. The female lays eggs in quiet places for warmth and safety. The total gestation period is about 9-14 days. Female Jonah crabs go towards the shore during the late spring and summer and move back offshore in the winter. 

There is no particular idea about the lifespan of this crab. Crabs live from 4-5 years in captivity, and wild crabs live from 1-5 years.

Jonah crab VS stone crabs:

Jonah crabs and stone crabs are popular species, and many people compare the jonah crabs and stone crabs. There are many differences in availability, size, and claws between them. 

Difference between appearance

Now let’s know about the main differences between them.

Difference between appearance:

Jonah crabs and stone crabs are homogeneous in appearance at first glance. But there are some differences between them. Both are red, but stone crabs often have brown spots on the carapace. 

The absolute difference between them is that the stone crabs have asymmetrical claws, which means that one claw is bigger than the other.

Crabs have claws of the same size.  

Reproduction system of jonah crabs and stone crabs:

As you know, crabs reproduce when they reach their full size. They also reproduce in specific seasons and a safe environment. 

The stone crabs breed at the time of spring and fall. The female stone crab starts to lay eggs when she reaches up to two years old. The female stone crab lays 160000-1000000 eggs at 28 degrees Celsius. Their gestation period is 9 to 14 days. 

Molting difference between Jonah crabs and stone crabs:

The molting system of the jonah crabs is different from other crabs. If the crab size is bigger than 120mm, he does not molt. So, jonah crabs keep their sizes the same every time. The molting process needs weather, the Crab’s age, and the right size. 

The molting process for stone crabs is important for survival. When predators capture them, they lose their limbs. If their joints are not broken down, their wounds heal quickly. After molting, the claws grow in size, and the Crab releases x-organ hormone to stop molting until it finds a proper place. This process preserves them from predators.

Difference between lifespan:

Lifespan is the absolute difference between jonah crabs and stone crabs. Stone crabs can live a few years more than jonah crabs. However, proper knowledge needs to be present about jonah crab’s lifespan. 

Stone crabs can live about 5 to 8 years in the wild. Jonah crabs can stay about 1 to 5 years. 

Are jonah crabs edible?

Yes, you can enjoy these crabs. They have a sweet and delicious taste, like Dungeness crabs with a delicate texture. The special thing about such crabs is that their meat can be enjoyed in many ways. Crabs’ claws are edible parts of the crabs. 

You can eat in many ways, like soup, dips, stews, and cakes. Boil this meat in salt water for six minutes per pound. 

It would be an excellent addition to your diet because of vitamin B, omega-3 fatty acids, and selenium. Jonah crabs are rich in protein and also have essential vitamins. They are low in fat and calories, making them useful for your health. 


Jonah crabs are commercially and economically very important. They are fished all around the year. Eating them may support the local fisherman and economy.

They are considered the best seafood option because these species are not at risk. It means that they can be harvested easily. These crabs have a delicious taste and are easy to harvest and cook. Their claws are fully meat and sweet. 

These crabs can regrow their claws but regenerate claws may be shorter than the original.

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