Difference Between Lobster vs Crab

Difference Between Lobster vs Crab

If you’ve got a keen interest in all things marine-based, then there’s little doubt that you’ll have encountered lobsters and crabs before. These two creatures are very similar, however, which has led to some people not being entirely sure about what the difference between lobster and crab is.

We want to completely clear up any confusion once and for all. Even though both of these animals belong to the arthropod family, they are dramatically different from one another as we’ll spell out with their unique definitions and a quick reference table comparing key variations. Read on for everything you need to know about these remarkable sea creatures.

Definition of Lobster

The definition of lobster is: “A long bodied marine animal with a hard exoskeleton, 10 walking legs, and two very large front claws.”

It’s in the description of the lobster’s body that we find our first contrasting area with the crab. Lobsters feature very long bodies that conclude at one end with the head and two large claws, and at the other end, a large clubbed tail.

Crabs, on the other hand, have large circular bodies that take up the vast majority of their overall mass. Their shape is also what leads to their distinctive walking style as crabs walk sideways whereas lobsters instead walk forward.

We can also easily tell the difference between crab and lobster by observing their abdomens. Crab abdomens are incredibly small and mostly hidden by their thorax, whereas on the other hand, lobster abdomens are much more prominent and found on the underside of their bodies.

Both animals are popular seafood dishes and crabs in particular have formed a staple part of the diets of many different cultures and societies across the world for hundreds of years. Lobsters have also always been consumed, but they are considered more of a delicacy and are therefore more expensive.

You can tell the difference between crab and lobster meat largely based on the fact that crab meat tends to be a little saltier and less firm than lobster meat, which is often sweeter and tougher to chew.

Definition of Crab

The definition of crab is: “A round bodied marine animal with a large exoskeleton that is easily identified by its sideways walk and small tail.”

When reading the above description, we can already easily separate crab vs lobster in several areas as previously mentioned including the distinctive walking style of the crab and the shape of its body.

The tail in particular is another giveaway clue that we’re looking at a crab because it is very small in appearance and almost tucked underneath the rear of the exoskeleton whereas with a lobster it is very prominent and openly on display.

As both creatures are arthropods, this means that they feature hard exoskeletons that they periodically shed before they regrow it. During the shedding phase, they are extremely vulnerable to attack from predators.

On average, a crab will also live for roughly half the lifespan of a lobster at 20 to 30 years. Lobsters typically live up to 70 or even more depending on the variety and some have even been found with an estimated age of well over 100.

Interestingly, unlike crabs, lobsters may get stronger and more fertile with age, which makes them not only unique in comparison to their arthropod family members but also amongst other animals in general.

Main Differences Between Lobster vs Crab

We’ll now highlight the key variations between lobster vs crab in a quick reference table.

Basis of Comparison:LobsterCrab
Body type:LongRound and short
Walking style?ForwardSideways
Taste when eaten?Sweet and firmSalty and tender
Tail appearance:Long, club like and prominently displayedShort and stumpy (hidden under shell)
Claw appearance?Very large and protrude away from the bodySmaller and closer to the body
Sensory antennae?YesNo

Difference Between Lobster and Crab: Conclusion

We hope that you enjoyed finding out about the difference between these two closely related marine animals. Just remember that lobsters have long bodies and crabs have round bodies. You can always tell the difference by focusing on that fact alone.