velvet swimming crab

[English] plural velvet swimmers

The velvet swimming crab (alternatively velvet crab or devil crab) is the largest swimming crab found in British coastal waters, with a carapace width of up to 100 mm. Although it is large for a swimmer, it has flaky white fish with good flavour but is too small to pick readily, so it is inclined to be used for soups. The body is coated with short hairs, giving the animal a velvety texture, hence the common name. It is one of the major crab species for UK fisheries. It is also found from southern Norway to Western Sahara in the North Sea and north Atlantic as well as western parts of the Mediterranean Sea, on rocky bottoms from the shoreline to a depth of about 65 m.

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