Zuwaigani vs Beni Zuwaigani : The Difference between the 2 Crabs

When it comes to the crab widely enjoyed in Japan, many Japanese like “Zuwaigani (ズワイガニ)” and “Beni Zuwaigani (紅ズワイガニ)”, which are referred to as “snow crab (Chionoecetes opilio)” and “red snow crab (Chionoecetes japonicus)” in English respectively.

The Difference between Zuwaigani and Beni Zuwaigani

Both Zuwaigani and Beni Zuwaigani belong to the genus Chionoecetes, but the 2 crabs are different in species, the former : Opilio, the latter : Japonicus.

Other than the classification, what is the difference between the 2 Japanese crabs?


Zuwaigani Beni Zuwaigani
Zuwaigani Beni Zuwaigani

As the name indicates, the whole body of Beni Zuwaigani, or red snow crab, is red. When boiled, the color of Beni Zuwaigani crabs turns intense red.


“Echizen Gani (越前がに : Echizen crab)” and “Matsuba Gani (松葉ガニ : Matsuba crab)” are representative brands of Zuwaigani.

As for the Beni Zuwaigani brand, “Kasumi Gani (香住がに : Kasumi crab)” is well-known in Japan.

Where the crabs are caught

The Zuwaigani crab is caught in the Sea of Japan, the Sea of Okhotsk, Canada and so on, while Beni Zuwaigani is caught in the Sea of Japan, North Korea, Russia and so on.

The place the crabs inhabit

Zuwaigani lives within the continental shelf at a depth of about 200 to 400 meters.

On the other hand, Beni Zuwaigani inhabits the deep sea at a depth of around 500 to 2500 meters.

Fishing Season

Zuwaigani is caught from autumn (September) to the next spring (June), while Beni Zuwaigani is caught in the winter season between November and March.


Zuwaigani is very meaty, which is the greatest appeal of Zuwaigani.

On the other hand, the meat of Beni Zuwaigani crabs is characterized by its sweetness.


Zuwaigani is famous as a luxurious crab and also called “Hon Zuwaigani (本ズワイガニ)”. Hon Zuwaigani (the whole) costs about 6,000 yen per kilogram on average.

On the other hand, Beni Zuwaigani is inexpensive. It is said this crab is available at one-fifth to one-tenth the price of Zuwaigani.

(Reference pages : Wikipedia ズワイガニ, Sakaiminato )


Hi, I'm Tomo, a Japanese blogger living in Niigata Prefecture, Japan. I want to introduce things about Japan on this blog, especially unique Japanese products, cooking recipes, cultures and trivia.

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