Difference Between Bairdi and Opilio Crabs (With Table)

Earliest humans established their civilizations near the seashores. The very reason is they can survive consuming seafood. The history of people eating fish, oysters and crabs is very ancient. They had even differentiated different categories among them.

The crabs have self-evolved 4 times since the formation of the earth. The consumption of crabs was mainly because of its flavour and taste. There are many varieties of crabs found in this world. A few categories do not exist in certain parts too.

The two prominent crabs that people consume is Bairdi Crab and Opilio Crab. Though they both look alike in various features, there are many differences between the two.

Bairdi vs Opilio Crabs

The main difference between Bairdi and Opilio Crab is the size. Bairdi Crab is usually larger when compared to the Opilio Crab. Further, both these crabs are scarce to find however Bairdi crab is more scarce than the Opilio.


Comparison Table Between Bairdi and Opilio Crabs (in Tabular Form)

Parameters of Comparison

Bairdi Crab

Opilio Crab

Capturing Method

Bairdi Crabs are captured using Crab traps. It is mainly caught using crab pots.

Opilio Crabs are caught using trawling method.


The Bairdi Crab is bigger when compared to Opilio Crabs

Opilio is smaller in size.

Meat Content

They have high meat content.

They have less meat content


The Bairdi Crabs have short tails.

The Opilio Crabs hav4 4 long pairs of legs.


Bairdi Crab have slight Sweet flavour

It does not have a sweet flavour.


What are Bairdi Crabs?

Bairdi Crab is a species of snow crab that is available on Earth. Bairdi crabs are found in the Bering Sea of the Pacific Ocean.

Snow Crab: This is the name given to Chionoecetes crabs that live in the Pacific and the Atlantic Ocean.

Bairdi Crabs are scientifically called as Chionoecetes Bairdi. It is also called as the Tanner crab. The life span of a Bairdi Crab is around 10 years. The adult crab can grow up to a weight of 1.8 kilograms.

The female Bairdi Crabs incubate for 12 months before hatching. It hatches during the spring. The larva of the crab can swim for a while. However, in two months it loses the capacity to swim and settles at the sea bed. They consume sea worms and clams. At the same time, Baridi crab is known for subtle sweet flavour in taste. The Tanner crabs are caught using a crab trap called Crab pots. It came into existence in the early 1950s.

The Crab Pot is a cage-like structure that lures the crab with its food items and captures it. Though crabs are captured for recreational purposes, mostly it is used for human consumption. Bairdi Crabs have short tails. It is extremely difficult to differentiate between a Baridi Crab and Opilio Crab for its size. However, it is also observed that a Bairdi Crab is slightly bigger than the other Chionoecetes varieties. That means to say its meat content is more than the other crab varieties that are found in the Pacific and the Atlantic Ocean.


What are Opilio Crabs?

It is a species of snow crab found in the Bering Sea. It is also known as the Snow crab.

The Opilio Crabs are scientifically called as Chionoecetes Opilio. They are also referred to as Opies in the food markets. The Opilio Crabs are caught by the method called Trawling, unlike the Bairdi Crabs.  Further, Opilio crabs are smaller in size and it has a long tail.

Compared to the Bairdi Crabs, Opilio crabs are easier to find. Further, the male opilio crabs are twice the size of the female ones. The maximum weight an Opilio Crab can reach is 1.3 kilograms. At the same time, the females can attain a weight of half a kilo.

The lifespan of the Opilio crabs ranges between 5 to 6 years. Moreover, the female opilio carry around One and a half Lakh eggs and they tend to lay them deep under the ocean. The eating pattern of Opilios differs in its sizes. The Opilios generally feed on worms but it is also observed that they can be consuming bigger annelids.

With the weight of the Crab, the meat content is less compared to most of the crab varieties found in the Pacific and the Atlantic Ocean. Though the crab is smaller in size, its 4 pairs of legs make it look bigger. They are present in elegant colours of red or orange at the back and white in the bottom.

It is also rated to find and can be caught in huge numbers during January every year.

Main Differences Between Bairdi and Opilio Crabs

  1. The main difference between the Bairdi and Opilio Crab lies in the meat content. A Bairdi Crab has more meat content than the Opilio Crab.
  2. Bairdi Crab has short tails while Opilio has longer ones.
  3. The capturing method of these two crabs also differ. The Bairdi Crab is caught using crab pots by setting a trap while Opilio is captured normally as people capture fish. This process is called Trawling.
  4. The size of the Crabs has a subtle difference too. Bairdi Crabs are slightly bigger than the Opilio Crabs.
  5. Though the Crabs are rare to find in certain seasons, they are mainly consumed for its taste. Bairdi crabs have a sweet flavour while the Opilio does not have it.



Bairdi and Opilio are more or less the same in the food market. They are sold as snow crabs and share the same living areas. But the prime difference is the meat content. There is an obvious difference between 1.8 kilograms and 0.5 Kilograms of Opilios.

Though only the Female Opilio Crabs have much less weight, the Bairdis is bought for its taste and sweet flavour. Moreover, the growth pattern until the larva stage for both remains the same. After that, the Opilios tend to take 10 more stages to become a complete adult. Additionally, the Opilios have more potential for reproduction. The male Opilio can involve in mating before becoming a complete adult as well.