Crustaceans | Crustacea

Crustaceans are large group of anthropods that are typically free-living in freshwater or marine environments. However, there are some land-dwelling crustaceans, such as woodlice, and non-mobile creatures, such as barnacles. Crustaceans have a segmented body with three distinct parts: the head, thorax, and abdomen and symmetrical legs. They also usually have eyes on stalks, antennae, and an exoskeleton that they molt in order to grow. The fossil record of crustaceans dates back to 540 million years ago, during the Cambrian period, with some species of crustaceans appearing evolutionarily unchanged since the Jurassic period.

What do crustaceans eat?

The diet of a crustacean depends on its size as well as species. Small terrestrial species typically eat matter from decaying organic matter. Parasitic crustaceans eat blood and skin materials from their host animal. Small aquatic crustaceans eat microscopic organisms, algae, and plankton while larger crustaceans eat snails, plants, and eggs of other marine life.

How do crustaceans breath?

Crustaceans breath oxygen and use the same respiratory system as fish by breathing oxygen through their gills. Gills are very similar to lungs, but the difference is that gills pull the oxygen from water and not air as lungs do.

Where do most crustaceans live?

Some crustacean species live in freshwater, while most prefer salt water and live in the ocean. Most crustacean species tend to live close to the shore. Specifically, woodlice and crabs live on land while prawns and shrimp in open water.

Crustaceans Guides
Browse through our curated Crustaceans Guides for additional categorizations, tips, details, variations, styles, and histories of Crustaceans. Guides provide additional insights into the unique properties and shared relationships between elements.
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.2”-.28” | 5-7 mm
.2”-.28” | 5-7 mm
2”-2.4” | 5-6 cm
.03-.07 oz | 1-2 g
2-6 years
Antarctic Krill
0.700
0.700
6.000
0.002
6.00
6100
3D
Antarctic Krill
1.4”-3.9” | 3.5-10 cm
1.2”-3.1” | 3-8 cm
2”-6” | 5.1-15.2 cm (Overall)
.22-1 lb | .1-.45 kg
15-30 years
Caribbean Hermit Crab
10.000
8.000
15.200
0.450
30.00
1650
3D
Caribbean Hermit Crab
.24”-.28” | 6-7 mm
.2”-.28” | 5-7 mm
1.25”-1.5” | 3.2-3.8 cm
.1-.2 oz | 3-5 g
1-2 years
Cherry Shrimp
0.700
0.700
3.800
0.005
2.00
37700
3D
Cherry Shrimp
.6”-1.7” | 1.4-4.4 cm
1.2”-3.9” | 3-10 cm (Carapace)
1”-3” | 2.5-7.5 cm (Carapace)
1.6-5.6 oz | 45-160 g
2-5 years
Chinese Mitten Crab
4.400
10.000
7.500
0.160
5.00
6150
3D
Chinese Mitten Crab
2.4”-5.9” | 6-15 cm
3”-8” | 7.6-20.3 cm (Carapace)
5.9”-15.75” | 15-40 cm (Carapace)
8.8-11 lb | 4-5 kg
40-60 years
Coconut Crab
15.000
20.300
40.000
5.000
60.00
256900
3D
Coconut Crab
2.1”-3.5” | 5.4-8.9 cm
5.9”-9.8” | 15-25 cm (Carapace)
3.9”-6.5” | 10-16.5 cm (Carapace)
2-4.4 lb | .9-2 kg
8-13 years
Dungeness Crab
8.900
25.000
16.500
2.000
13.00
103060
3D
Dungeness Crab
1”-1.7” | 2.6-4.3 cm
2.5”-4” | 6.4-10.2 cm (Carapace)
2.1”-3.3” | 5.3-8.5 cm (Carapace)
2.6-3 oz | 75-85 g
3-5 years
European Green Crab
4.300
10.200
8.500
0.085
5.00
5500
3D
European Green Crab
2.6”-3” | 6.5-7.5 cm
5.1”-5.7” | 13-14.5 cm (Carapace)
3”-3.4” | 7.6-8.7 cm (Carapace)
3-6 oz | 85-170 g
6-8 years
Florida Stone Crab
7.500
14.500
8.700
0.170
8.00
2560
3D
Florida Stone Crab
4.1”-6.5” | 10.5-16.6 cm
7.9”-15” | 20-38 cm (Carapace)
9.25”-14” | 23.5-35.5 cm (Carapace)
28.7-44.1 lb | 13-20 kg
50-100 years
Japanese Spider Crab
16.600
38.000
35.500
20.000
100.00
85100
3D
Japanese Spider Crab
2”-3” | 5.1-7.7 cm
5.9”-8.7” | 15-22 cm (Carapace)
3.7”-5.6” | 9.5-14.3 cm (Carapace)
.75-1.2 lb | .34-.54 kg
1-5 years
Jonah Crab
7.700
22.000
14.300
0.540
5.00
7050
3D
Jonah Crab
1.6”-5.5” | 4-14 cm
2”-5.9” | 5-15 cm
7.9”-23.6” | 20-60 cm
9-44 lb | 4-20 kg
50-140 years
Maine Lobster | American Lobster
14.000
15.000
60.000
20.000
140.00
32400
3D
Maine Lobster | American Lobster
.3”-1” | .8-2.5 cm
.5”-2” | 1.3-5 cm
2”-7” | 5.1-17.8 cm
.4-3.2 oz | 12-90 g
4-6 years
Peacock Mantis Shrimp
2.500
5.000
17.800
0.090
6.00
24200
3D
Peacock Mantis Shrimp
3.9”-6.5” | 9.8-16.4 cm
5.9”-11” | 15-28 cm (Carapace)
5.1”-10” | 13-25.3 cm (Carapace)
24-28 lb | 10.9-12.7 kg
20-30 years
Red King Crab
16.400
28.000
25.300
12.700
30.00
11300
3D
Red King Crab
.8”-1.4” | 2-3.5 cm
2”-3.4” | 5-8.7 cm (Carapace)
1.8”-3.1” | 4.6-8 cm (Carapace)
.8-2 lb | .36-.91 kg
8-12 years
Red Rock Crab
3.500
8.700
8.000
0.910
12.00
3800
3D
Red Rock Crab
1.5”-2.5” | 3.7-6.4 cm
3.7”-6.5” | 9.4-16.5 cm (Carapace)
3.1”-5.4” | 8-13.6 cm (Carapace)
1.1-3 lb | .5-1.35 kg
12-20 years
Snow Crab
6.400
16.500
13.600
1.350
20.00
81350
3D
Snow Crab
.04”-.06” | .9-1.4 mm
.05”-.07” | 1.2-1.8 mm
.39”-.59” | 10-15 mm
1-2 weeks
Spiny Water Flea
0.140
0.180
1.500
0.04
1460
3D
Spiny Water Flea
3.7”-6.7” | 9.5-17 cm
11”-18.1” | 28-46 cm (Carapace)
8.4”-13.6” | 21.3-34.6 cm (Carapace)
20-39 lb | 9-17.7 kg
20-30 years
Tasmanian Giant Crab
17.000
46.000
34.600
17.700
30.00
5050
3D
Tasmanian Giant Crab
1”-1.4” | 2.5-3.5 cm
1.1”-1.5” | 2.7-3.7 cm
7”-9.1” | 17.8-23.1 cm
1-2.8 oz | 30-80 g
1-2 years
Whiteleg Shrimp
3.500
3.700
23.100
0.080
2.00
8100
3D
Whiteleg Shrimp
Chinese Mitten Crab (Eriocheir sinensis)
Scale illustration of an average Chinese Mitten Crab compared to other crustacean species

The Chinese Mitten Crab (Eriocheir sinensis) may resemble mittens, however, they are members of the family Varanidae found in rivers and estuaries in East Asia’s coastline and are also called Shanghai Hairy Crab, named after its furry claws identical to those of mittens. The crab is medium-size with claws spotting dense patches of dark setae. It spends its life in freshwater but breeds in the sea or brackish water. This omnivorous creature is a delicacy in Eastern China, especially its roe. They have a light-brown body and an almost square-shaped carapace. Males are identified by V-shaped abdomens and female U-shaped abdomens.

The Chinese Mitten Crab has a carapace length between 1”-3” (2.5-7.5 cm), carapace width of 1.2”-3.9” (3-10 cm), body height of .6”-1.7” (1.4-4.4 cm), and weight between 1.6-5.6 oz (45-160 g). The typical lifespan of the Chinese Mitten Crab is between 2-5 years.

Series of measured illustrations of the Chinese Mitten Crab
The Chinese Mitten Crab (Eriocheir sinensis) may resemble mittens, however, they are members of the family Varanidae found in rivers and estuaries in East Asia’s coastline and are also called Shanghai Hairy Crab, named after its furry claws identical to those of mittens.

The Chinese Mitten Crab has a carapace length between 1”-3” (2.5-7.5 cm), carapace width of 1.2”-3.9” (3-10 cm), body height of .6”-1.7” (1.4-4.4 cm), and weight between 1.6-5.6 oz (45-160 g). The typical lifespan of the Chinese Mitten Crab is between 2-5 years.

Series of measured illustrations of the Chinese Mitten Crab
Chinese Mitten Crab (Eriocheir sinensis)
Height:
.6”-1.7” | 1.4-4.4 cm
Width:
1.2”-3.9” | 3-10 cm (Carapace)
Length:
1”-3” | 2.5-7.5 cm (Carapace)
Depth:
Weight:
1.6-5.6 oz | 45-160 g
Area:
Scientific Name
Eriocheir sinensis
Lifespan
2-5 years

Drawings include:

Chinese Mitten Crab top view, side

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Dungeness Crab (Metacarcinus magister)
Comparison drawing of the Dungeness Crab compared to other crustaceans

The Dungeness Crab (Metacarcinus magister) holds the record for being the most popular and tasty seafood in the family Cancridae and in communities living close to the port of Dungeness in Washington state. The crab bears a wide, long, hard shell that it molts periodically to grow. The belly is yellowish and the dorsal surface reddish-brown but lighter on its posterior. As an opportunistic feeder, it has evolved to feeding in sandy habitats on the bottom of the Western Pacific coast. Since it is a decapod, its body is broad, oval, composed of a chitinous shell, and with five pairs of armored legs.

The Dungeness Crab has a carapace length between 3.9”-6.5” (10-16.5 cm), carapace width of 5.9”-9.8” (15-25 cm), body height of 2.1”-3.5” (5.4-8.9 cm), and weight between 2-4.4 lb (.9-2 kg). The typical lifespan of the Dungeness Crab is between 8-13 years.

Set of scaled top and elevation drawings of the Dungeness Crab
The Dungeness Crab (Metacarcinus magister) holds the record for being the most popular and tasty seafood in the family Cancridae and in communities living close to the port of Dungeness in Washington state. The crab bears a wide, long, hard shell that it molts periodically to grow.

The Dungeness Crab has a carapace length between 3.9”-6.5” (10-16.5 cm), carapace width of 5.9”-9.8” (15-25 cm), body height of 2.1”-3.5” (5.4-8.9 cm), and weight between 2-4.4 lb (.9-2 kg). The typical lifespan of the Dungeness Crab is between 8-13 years.

Set of scaled top and elevation drawings of the Dungeness Crab
Dungeness Crab (Metacarcinus magister)
Height:
2.1”-3.5” | 5.4-8.9 cm
Width:
5.9”-9.8” | 15-25 cm (Carapace)
Length:
3.9”-6.5” | 10-16.5 cm (Carapace)
Depth:
Weight:
2-4.4 lb | .9-2 kg
Area:
Scientific Name
Metacarcinus magister
Lifespan
8-13 years

Drawings include:

Dungeness Crab top view, side

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Snow Crab (Chionoecetes opilio)
Scale illustration of an average Snow Crab compared to other crustacean species

The fact that the Snow Crab (Chionoecetes opilio) lives in the Atlantic and the northern Pacific Ocean does not mean it is dull and less tasty like the weather, but a popular delicacy in different diner tables because of their fresh and salty experience. The Snow Crab fits in the family Oregoniidae possessing a small body and long legs, an orange, red, or light-brown shell, and when cooked, it turns to snowy white with specks of bright orange. The name comes from the habitat which is the cold northern Oceans and its primary defense mechanism is burrowing into soft substrate or disguise.

The Snow Crab has a carapace length between 3.1”-5.4” (8-13.6 cm), carapace width of 3.7”-6.5” (9.4-16.5 cm), body height of 1.5”-2.5” (3.7-6.4 cm), and weight between 1.1-3 lb (.5-1.35 kg). The typical lifespan of the Snow Crab is between 12-20 years.

Series of measured illustrations of the Snow Crab
The fact that the Snow Crab (Chionoecetes opilio) lives in the Atlantic and the northern Pacific Ocean does not mean it is dull and less tasty like the weather, but a popular delicacy in different diner tables because of their fresh and salty experience. The Snow Crab is in the family Oregoniidae.

The Snow Crab has a carapace length between 3.1”-5.4” (8-13.6 cm), carapace width of 3.7”-6.5” (9.4-16.5 cm), body height of 1.5”-2.5” (3.7-6.4 cm), and weight between 1.1-3 lb (.5-1.35 kg). The typical lifespan of the Snow Crab is between 12-20 years.

Series of measured illustrations of the Snow Crab
Snow Crab (Chionoecetes opilio)
Height:
1.5”-2.5” | 3.7-6.4 cm
Width:
3.7”-6.5” | 9.4-16.5 cm (Carapace)
Length:
3.1”-5.4” | 8-13.6 cm (Carapace)
Depth:
Weight:
1.1-3 lb | .5-1.35 kg
Area:
Scientific Name
Chionoecetes opilio
Lifespan
12-20 years

Drawings include:

Snow Crab top view, side

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Coconut Crab (Birgus latro)
Set of size comparison illustrations of the size of a Coconut Crab to other crustaceans

It is hard to ignore the Coconut Crab (Birgus latro) due to its enormous size, great climbing skills, and the ability to crack open coconuts. Also called Palm Thief or Robber Crab, it is the largest land-living invertebrate grouped in the family Coenobitidae and found in the Indian and Pacific Islands. Adult Coconut Crab develop a tough exoskeleton on their abdomen while juvenile use or carry empty snail shells for protection. It has a good sense of smell and is an opportunistic feeder feeding mostly on fruits. It digs a burrow in sand or prefers rock crevices shelter and gets its name from its looks and diet.

The Coconut Crab has a carapace length between 5.9”-15.75” (15-40 cm), carapace width of 3”-8” (7.6-20.3 cm), body height of 2.4”-5.9” (6-15 cm), and weight between 8.8-11 lb (4-5 kg). The typical lifespan of the Coconut Crab is between 40-60 years.

Scaled collection of drawings of Coconut Crab in various poses
It is hard to ignore the Coconut Crab (Birgus latro) due to its enormous size, great climbing skills, and the ability to crack open coconuts. Also called Palm Thief or Robber Crab, it is the largest land-living invertebrate in the family Coenobitidae and found in the Indian and Pacific Islands.

The Coconut Crab has a carapace length between 5.9”-15.75” (15-40 cm), carapace width of 3”-8” (7.6-20.3 cm), body height of 2.4”-5.9” (6-15 cm), and weight between 8.8-11 lb (4-5 kg). The typical lifespan of the Coconut Crab is between 40-60 years.

Scaled collection of drawings of Coconut Crab in various poses
Coconut Crab (Birgus latro)
Height:
2.4”-5.9” | 6-15 cm
Width:
3”-8” | 7.6-20.3 cm (Carapace)
Length:
5.9”-15.75” | 15-40 cm (Carapace)
Depth:
Weight:
8.8-11 lb | 4-5 kg
Area:
Scientific Name
Birgus latro
Lifespan
40-60 years

Drawings include:

Coconut Crab top view, side

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Spiny Water Flea (Bythotrephes longimanus)
Scale illustration of an average Spiny Water Flea compared to other crustacean species

Looking at the Spiny Water Flea (Bythotrephes longimanus) may make you conclude it is an alien from outer space, how it is a member of the crustacean family Cercopagididae. The Spiny Water Flea is considered an invasive species capable of colonizing the lower level of the food chain and leaving a trail of destruction in an ecosystem. Though it has origins in Northern Europe and Asia, it has also colonized the Great Lakes region. They have a rapid growth rate and are recognized by a long abdominal spine bearing several barbs for protection. Juveniles show one pair of barbs on their spine while adults possess four pairs of barbs.

The Spiny Water Flea has an overall length between .39”-.59” (10-15 mm), body width of .05”-.07” (1.2-1.8 mm), and body height of .04”-.06” (.9-1.4 mm). The typical lifespan of the Spiny Water Flea is between 1-2 weeks.

Series of measured illustrations of the Spiny Water Flea
Looking at the Spiny Water Flea (Bythotrephes longimanus) may make you conclude it is an alien from outer space, how it is a member of the crustacean family Cercopagididae. The Spiny Water Flea is considered an invasive species capable of colonizing the lower level of the food chain.

The Spiny Water Flea has an overall length between .39”-.59” (10-15 mm), body width of .05”-.07” (1.2-1.8 mm), and body height of .04”-.06” (.9-1.4 mm). The typical lifespan of the Spiny Water Flea is between 1-2 weeks.

Series of measured illustrations of the Spiny Water Flea
Spiny Water Flea (Bythotrephes longimanus)
Height:
.04”-.06” | .9-1.4 mm
Width:
.05”-.07” | 1.2-1.8 mm
Length:
.39”-.59” | 10-15 mm
Depth:
Weight:
Area:
Scientific Name
Bythotrephes longimanus
Lifespan
1-2 weeks

Drawings include:

Spiny Water Flea top view, side

Details & Downloads

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