Jonah Crab vs Stone Crab

Having more than 4400 edible spices, crabs have always been one of the favorite arthropods for both foodies and marine biologists. 

So crabs have become one of the most demanding arthropods nowadays. People started to compare different species of carbs for more taste or more knowledge.

And two of the most popular crabs species are Stone crabs and the Jonah crabs. People often compare jonah crab vs stone crab to know the differences.

These two species have become so demanding that different states have enforced laws so that these crabs can reproduce perfectly and not become extinct.

Tons of differences are there. The name, availability, look, claw, and lots of differences are there between these two. You should know them before buying or picking one, especially if you are confused.

Jonah Crab vs Stone Crab
  • Save

Comparison Chart

No. Argument Topic Jonah crab Stone Crab
1 Scientific name  Cancer borealis Menippe mercenaria
2 Discovered By William Stimpson in 1859 Thomas Say in 1818
3 Available Places Northeast Canada to the Carolines, Newfoundland to Florida.

of the east coast of North America. 

Western North Atlantic. Texas, the Gulf of Mexico, Cuba, the Bahamas, and the East Coast of The United States, Salt Marshes of South Carolina and Georgia.
4 Carapace Description  The carapace is oval-shaped. The width is 180 mm and it is red-colored. The underside is usually yellowish. There are 5 pairs of thick legs that are red-colored. The average width of the carapace can be 5 to 6.5 inches. The color of the carapace is brownish-red and has a tiny tan. There are 5 pairs of stout walking legs.
5 Claw Description  The front two legs of the Jonah crabs turn into claws that are red-colored. The first two legs of the stone crabs develop into claws. The claws are an asymmetrical pair of large chelipeds.
6 DIfference between male and female species. The width of carapace size for males is 128 mm, whereas the female carbs have 92 mm width so males possess bigger carapace. Female crabs have larger carapaces. The male crabs possess more enormous claws.
7 Eating Habits   The Jonah crabs usually eat mussels, arthropods, and snails. They also eat some algal species. The stone crabs usually eat oysters, small mollusks, polychaete worms, and crustaceans. Sometimes they eat seagrass and carrion.
8 Habitats The Jonah crabs can be found 50-300 feet deep in rocks, clay, sands, and mud. Their preferred temperature is 8-14° Celsius. They dig a hole using shells for living in. The hole depth can be 6-inch to 3 feet. The hole is usually dug into 1-5 feet dock piling water.

Jonah crab vs stone crab – The differences

Now let’s see the main differences between the Jonah crab and stone crab.

Reproduction system of Jonah crab and stone crab

When the carapace is 128mm for male Jonah crabs and 89 mm for Jonah female crabs, they are eligible for reproduction. The female crabs can produce one egg clutch per year, which is up to five broods per lifetime.

They spawn between late winter to early spring. To assure the success of the egg extrusion, the Jonah crabs like to lay to rest themselves in soft and safe substances.

The breeding season of a stone crab is year-round at the time of spring and fall. The female stone crabs are ready to lay eggs when they are around two years old. 

In an offspring, the female stone crabs carry 160000-1000000 eggs. 28 degree Celsius temperature is favorable for ovarian development. They need 9 to 14 days for the range gestation period.

How they molt

The molting system of Jonah crabs is different from than usual carbs. If the crab is larger than 120 mm, it doesn’t molt. So the Jonah crabs don’t change sizes every time they molt.

The molting process required some aspects like whether the crabs are well-aged or not, or whether they are right-sized or not.

The molting system is essential for stone crabs to survive and improve their physical structure. When predators hunt them or are stuck in tight spots, they like to lose their limbs. If they don’t break joints, the wounds heal quickly. 

When the molting is over, the claw grows bigger. When molting, the stone crab releases x-organ hormone not to molt until it finds a proper place for molting. This process saves them from predators. 


In the past, Jonah crabs were thrown back to the seas. But now, as time has changed, they have become so much famous for their unique taste. So the fishing pressure and market demand have increased. 

Please visit our article about Fly Fishing Vs. Regular Fishing to ensure what fishing technique is suitable according to your need.

The Jonah crabs are usually caught by lobster traps. In 2014 about 14 million pounds of Jonah carbs were caught in the USA. Only male Jonah carbs are legal to catch with a size of 121mm to 120 mm of carapace width.

You can catch stone crabs from October 15 to May 15 in the USA. These crabs have smaller bodies, so they are rarely eaten. But the claws of the stone crabs are so famous for their big sizes. 

The harvesting process of stone crabs is removing one or both claws from their bodies and returning them to water to regrow claws. The claws size must be 2.875 inches. In the USA, 2 to 3.5 million crabs are caught per year.

How are they stored?

It is better to eat the Jonah crabs as fast as you buy them. But if you want to store them. To store them, put them in a container. It is better if the container is lined with newspaper.

Then store them in the fridge. This process keeps the meat’s moisture by not making it wet but keeping it cool. Or you can pasteurize crab that keeps up to 8 to 18 months.

Storing process of cooked stone crabs is a bit tough. You have to keep them at 0° Celsius in the refrigerator. But you need to utilize them within 2 days. But storing intact claws is simple. You have to freeze them at 0° Fahrenheit.

You can store the claws for up to 6 months in this process. You shouldn’t thaw the claws under running water. It will decrease its quality. Thaw in the refrigerator for 12-18 hours for perfect quality

Which one is easier to prepare for cooking?

To prepare the jonah crabs’ claws, wash knives and sponges and cut bodies perfectly with clean water. You should keep the preparer claw with proper marination in the refrigerator. When it is time to cook, discard marination.

It will save your food from bacteria. If extra marination is needed, stock an extra quantity of marination. Don’t keep the raw and cooked claws together, or it will cause bacterial cross-contamination.

The preparation process of stone crabs is pretty the same as jonah crabs. Wash the claw ideally and follow the proper preparation as the way you want to eat it. You can also follow a  recipe book if you wish. 

Which one is easy to cook?

There are lots of preparations to eat Jonah crabs. Usually, jonah crabs are cooked with steam and served chilled over ice. Crab cakes can be made with meat as the Jonah crabs have a sweet flavor. You can use the shell for making seafood-based broths or Asian-style soup.

You can serve the stone crab claw alone or you can take help from any kind you recipe for different kinds of flavor. 

To break the shell, use a hammer to crack all sections of the claw. Including butter and lime juice is the perfect way to serve with the claws for an appetizer.


Nutrition Value Jonah crabs Stone crab
Calories 90 60
Calories from Fat 9 0
Total Fat 1g 0
Saturated Fat 0 0
Cholesterol 80mg 45mg
Sodium 400mg 300mg
Total Carbohydrates 0 0
Protein 10 15g
Vitamin A 0 0%DV
Vitamin C 0 0%DV
Calcium 120mg 8%DV
Iron 0.7mg 2%DV
Omega-3 Fatty Acid 0 0


Still have some questions? Follow the section below to get the answers.

What kind of crab is Jonah crab?

The jonah crab is mainly a descendant of the marine brachyuran crab. These crabs are closely related to Dungeness crabs that live on the pacific coast from Alaska down to lower California. The Jonah crabs are wild types of crabs that can be found deeper than 600 feet from the seashore.

Are Jonah crab claws good?

As the size of the jonah crabs’ claws is bigger, They are very meaty. The claws taste very sweet compared to other crabs. The flaky texture makes them more delicious. The pincers conserve the structure of the meat of the claws. These claws are mostly served with cocktail sauce or aioli.

You may like another fish query comparison information available at Outdoorboat

Pistol Shrimp vs Mantis Shrimp- All About Their Dissimilation

Carp vs Tilapia: Which Is Better In Comparison?

Carp vs Koi: Know Their Dissimilarities

Comparison Between Carp vs Catfish

Grass Carp VS Common Carp: Identical Differences


Nowadays, The Jonah crabs and stone crabs are both famous for their taste and commercial prosperity. So if you want to choose which one you prefer most, you need to know some differences between Jonah crab vs stone crab. 

To know the differences between them, you need to do some research. Make sure you know them properly so that you can cook them well with the right recipes and methods.

A wrong pick may damage your cooking and taste at the same time. So know the differences and enjoy the best of them.

2 thoughts on “Jonah Crab vs Stone Crab”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Share via
Copy link
Powered by Social Snap