Stone Crab

Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

stone crab Menippe mercenaria, a brownish-red crab, mottled with grey, whose range extends from the Caribbean and the Gulf of Texas to the Carolinas, but which is especially associated with Florida. In Mexico it is called el moro. It may measure 12 cm (5") across and has relatively large claws, one bigger than the other, which are tipped with black. It lives in burrows in shallow water. Although the backfin meat of this crab is edible, the accepted view is that everything is ‘waste’ except for the claw meat; and it is only the claws which are sold. Fishermen remove the larger claw and toss the crab back into the water, since it will survive this amputation and grow a new claw within eighteen months. The season runs from October to May, but since the meat’s flavour seems almost improved by freezing (it loses thereby the taste of iodine), trade in claws is year-round.