What Is the Anatomy of a King Crab?

King crab, or Alaskan king crab, anatomy consists primarily of the shell, legs, claws and carapace. Some of the smaller yet still important features include the spines, tips and joints of the legs. King crabs are different anatomically from most other crabs in that they possess only six legs, not eight.

The color of the king crab's outer shell depends on the exact subspecies and can vary from dark reddish brown to blue to golden in hue. Blue crabs are typically more slender and more oval in shape, but all king crabs must molt their shells to grow larger. The largest part of the king crab is the middle portion, or carapace, from which the head, legs and claws protrude.

The king crab has two claws, the right one being considered the broiler claw. Leg anatomy consists of four essential parts, with the shoulder closest to the carapace, the merus being the central portion terminating at the hinge joint, the leg and then the tip, which is usually darker in color and sharp at the end. The entirety of the body and legs are also studded with thorny little protrusions called spines, which make the king crab's defenses in the wild more formidable.