Crab, Common

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

crab, common (or European crab) Cancer pagurus, the familiar large edible crab of W. and N. Europe. It may occasionally be found in the W. Mediterranean, but this is doubtful. The maximum width of the carapace is over 25 cm (10") and the weight of the largest specimens can be as much as 5 kg (11 lb). The usual colour is pinkish or reddish-brown, with black tips to the claws.

There are some places where these crabs seem to grow larger than elsewhere. Street (1966) mentions the rocks round Cadgwith on the Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall as one, and comments that the explanation is not known.