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Squid vs. Crab — What's the Difference?

By Tayyaba Rehman — Updated on December 17, 2023
Squid is a cephalopod with a soft body and elongated arms; Crab is a crustacean with a short, broad body and pincers.
Squid vs. Crab — What's the Difference?

Difference Between Squid and Crab

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Key Differences

Anatomy: Squids have elongated bodies, large eyes, and eight arms, plus two tentacles. Crabs possess a hard exoskeleton, two claws, and four pairs of legs.
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Habitat: Squids are typically found in deep sea environments, known for their agility and speed. Crabs are common in oceanic, freshwater, and terrestrial environments, adapting well to various habitats.
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Diet: Both squid and crab are carnivorous. Squid often feed on smaller fish and other marine life, using their tentacles to capture prey. Crabs are scavengers, feeding on algae, mollusks, and detritus.
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Reproduction: Squids reproduce by releasing eggs into the water, where fertilization occurs externally. Crabs engage in mating rituals, with internal fertilization, and the female carries the fertilized eggs.
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Lifespan: Generally, squids have a shorter lifespan, living for only one to two years. Crabs can live much longer, with some species surviving for decades.
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Comparison Chart

Body Structure

Soft-bodied with elongated shape
Hard exoskeleton with a flat, round shape
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Limbs

Eight arms and two tentacles
Four pairs of walking legs and two claws
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Habitat

Mostly oceanic depths
Ocean, freshwater, and land
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Reproduction

External fertilization, lay eggs
Internal fertilization, carry eggs
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Lifespan

Short, usually 1-2 years
Longer, several years to decades
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Compare with Definitions

Squid

A squid is a fast-moving marine mollusk with tentacles.
The squid darted away quickly in the deep sea.
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Crab

A crab is a crustacean with a broad, flat body and pincers.
The crab scuttled across the sandy beach.
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Squid

Squid is also a popular seafood, often served fried or grilled.
I ordered grilled squid at the seafood restaurant.
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Crab

Crab is a delicacy in many cuisines, known for its tender meat.
We enjoyed a delicious crab feast last night.
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Squid

Informally, 'squid' can mean an inexperienced person, especially in motorcycling.
He's such a squid on his new bike, wobbling everywhere.
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Crab

Informally, 'crab' can refer to a grouchy person.
Don't be such a crab this morning!
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Squid

In printing, 'squid' refers to a tool used for spreading ink.
Use the squid to evenly distribute ink across the screen.
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Crab

'Crab' also denotes a type of mechanical hoisting device.
Use the crab to lift this heavy machinery.
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Squid

In zoology, squid refers to a member of the cephalopod family.
The biologist studied squid behavior in the Atlantic Ocean.
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Crab

Crabs are decapod crustaceans of the infraorder Brachyura, which typically have a very short projecting "tail" (abdomen) (Greek: βραχύς, romanized: brachys = short, οὐρά / οura = tail), usually hidden entirely under the thorax. They live in all the world's oceans, in fresh water, and on land, are generally covered with a thick exoskeleton, and have a single pair of pincers.
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Squid

Squid are cephalopods in the superorder Decapodiformes with elongated bodies, large eyes, eight arms and two tentacles. Like all other cephalopods, squid have a distinct head, bilateral symmetry, and a mantle.
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Crab

In astronomy, 'Crab' refers to the Crab Nebula.
The Crab Nebula is a fascinating object to observe.
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Squid

A device that measures minute changes in magnetic flux by means of one or more Josephson junctions, often used to detect extremely small changes in magnetic fields, electric currents, and voltages.
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Crab

Any of various chiefly marine decapod crustaceans of the infraorder Brachyura, having a hard carapace that covers a broad flattened cephalothorax with a small abdomen tucked beneath it, and an anterior pair of legs that are large and pincerlike.
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Squid

Any of various marine cephalopod mollusks of several families of the superorder Decapodiformes (or Decabrachia), having a usually elongated body, eight arms and two tentacles, a reduced or absent internal shell, and a pair of fins.
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Crab

Any of various similar decapod crustaceans, such as a hermit crab or a king crab.
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Squid

Any of several carnivorous marine cephalopod mollusks, of the order Teuthida, having a mantle, eight arms, and a pair of tentacles
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Crab

Crabmeat.
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Squid

A fishhook with a piece of bright lead, bone, or other substance fastened on its shank to imitate a squid.
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Crab

A crab louse.
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Squid

A sailor in the Navy.
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Crab

Crabs(Slang) Infestation by crab lice.
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Squid

A quid; one pound sterling.
Can you lend me five squid? I feel like a bacon sarnie.
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Crab

The maneuvering of an aircraft partially into a crosswind to compensate for drift.
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Squid

A motorcyclist, especially a sport biker, characterized by reckless riding and lack of protective gear.
"In my mind, a street squid is anyone who races on the street. Period."1
"squid: a cocky motorcyclist who darts very aggressively through traffic"2
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Crab

A machine for handling or hoisting heavy weights.
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Squid

(angling) To fish with the kind of hook called a squid.
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Crab

A crabapple tree or its fruit.
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Squid

(parachuting) To cause squidding an improper, partial, parachute inflation, that results in the sides of the parachute folding in on the center, and pulsating back and forth.
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Crab

A quarrelsome, ill-tempered person.
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Squid

Any one of numerous species of ten-armed cephalopods having a long, tapered body, and a caudal fin on each side; especially, any species of Loligo, Ommastrephes, and related genera. See Calamary, Decacerata, Dibranchiata.
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Crab

See Cancer.
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Squid

A fishhook with a piece of bright lead, bone, or other substance, fastened on its shank to imitate a squid.
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Crab

To hunt or catch crabs.
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Squid

(Italian cuisine) squid prepared as food
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Crab

To scurry sideways in the manner of a crab.
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Squid

Widely distributed fast-moving ten-armed cephalopod mollusk having a long tapered body with triangular tail fins
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Crab

To drift diagonally or sideways, especially when under tow.
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Crab

To direct an aircraft into a crosswind.
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Crab

To direct (an aircraft) partly into a crosswind to eliminate drift.
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Crab

To cause to move or scurry sideways.
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Crab

To find fault; criticize someone or something.
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Crab

(Informal) To interfere with and ruin; spoil.
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Crab

(Informal) To find fault with; complain about.
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Crab

To make ill-tempered or sullen.
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Crab

A crustacean of the infraorder Brachyura, having five pairs of legs, the foremost of which are in the form of claws, and a carapace.
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Crab

(uncountable) The meat of this crustacean, served as food; crabmeat.
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Crab

A bad-tempered person.
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Crab

An infestation of pubic lice (Pthirus pubis).
Although crabs themselves are an easily treated inconvenience, the patient and his partner(s) clearly run major STD risks.
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Crab

The angle by which an aircraft's nose is pointed upwind of its groundtrack to compensate for crosswinds during an approach to landing; its crab angle.
The pilot had to hold fifteen degrees of crab during the approach to keep her plane from getting blown off the localizer course.
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Crab

The state of an aircraft's nose being pointed upwind of its groundtrack to compensate for crosswinds during an approach to landing.
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Crab

(slang) A playing card with the rank of three.
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Crab

(rowing) A position in rowing where the oar is pushed under the rigger by the force of the water.
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Crab

A defect in an outwardly normal object that may render it inconvenient and troublesome to use.
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Crab

(dated) An unsold book that is returned to the publisher.
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Crab

The crab apple or wild apple.
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Crab

The tree bearing crab apples, which has a dogbane-like bitter bark with medical use.
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Crab

A cudgel made of the wood of the crab tree; a crabstick.
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Crab

A movable winch or windlass with powerful gearing, used with derricks, etc.
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Crab

A form of windlass, or geared capstan, for hauling ships into dock, etc.
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Crab

A machine used in ropewalks to stretch the yarn.
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Crab

A claw for anchoring a portable machine.
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Crab

The tree species Carapa guianensis, native to South America.
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Crab

(informal) carabiner
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Crab

(intransitive) To fish for crabs.
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Crab

To ruin.
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Crab

(intransitive) To complain.
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Crab

(transitive) To complain about.
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Crab

(intransitive) To drift or move sideways or to leeward by analogy with the movement of a crab.
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Crab

To move in a manner that involves keeping low and clinging to surfaces.
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Crab

To navigate (an aircraft, e.g. a glider) sideways against an air current in order to maintain a straight-line course.
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Crab

To move (a camera) sideways.
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Crab

, to fly slightly off the straight-line course towards an enemy aircraft, as the machine guns on early aircraft did not allow firing through the propeller disk.
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Crab

(rare) To back out of something.
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Crab

(obsolete) To irritate, make surly or sour
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Crab

To be ill-tempered; to complain or find fault.
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Crab

(British dialect) To cudgel or beat, as with a crabstick
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Crab

One of the brachyuran Crustacea. They are mostly marine, and usually have a broad, short body, covered with a strong shell or carapace. The abdomen is small and curled up beneath the body.
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Crab

The zodiacal constellation Cancer.
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Crab

A crab apple; - so named from its harsh taste.
When roasted crabs hiss in the bowl,Then nightly sings the staring owl.
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Crab

A cudgel made of the wood of the crab tree; a crabstick.
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Crab

A movable winch or windlass with powerful gearing, used with derricks, etc.
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Crab

To make sour or morose; to embitter.
Sickness sours or crabs our nature.
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Crab

To beat with a crabstick.
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Crab

To drift sidewise or to leeward, as a vessel.
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Crab

Sour; rough; austere.
The crab vintage of the neighb'ring coast.
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Crab

Decapod having eyes on short stalks and a broad flattened carapace with a small abdomen folded under the thorax and pincers
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Crab

A quarrelsome grouch
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Crab

(astrology) a person who is born while the sun is in Cancer
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Crab

The fourth sign of the zodiac; the sun is in this sign from about June 21 to July 22
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Crab

The edible flesh of any of various crabs
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Crab

Infests the pubic region of the human body
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Crab

A stroke of the oar that either misses the water or digs too deeply;
He caught a crab and lost the race
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Crab

Direct (an aircraft) into a crosswind
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Crab

Scurry sideways like a crab
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Crab

Fish for crab
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Crab

Complain;
What was he hollering about?
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Common Curiosities

Can crabs live out of water?

Some crab species can survive out of water for a limited time.
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Do squid have bones?

No, squid have a flexible backbone called a pen.
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What do crabs eat?

Crabs eat algae, mollusks, and organic matter.
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How do squid move?

Squid move by jet propulsion, expelling water from their mantle.
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Do squid have good eyesight?

Squids have excellent eyesight, crucial for hunting.
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Are all crabs edible?

Not all crab species are edible or considered safe to eat.
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How do squid reproduce?

Squids lay eggs, with fertilization occurring outside the body.
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Can crabs swim?

Some crab species can swim, while others are primarily walkers.
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What classifies a squid?

Squid are cephalopods known for their elongated bodies and tentacles.
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How do crabs defend themselves?

Crabs use their pincers for defense and to capture prey.
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What's the lifespan of a crab?

Crab lifespans vary, with some living several decades.
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What's the biggest crab species?

The Japanese spider crab is one of the largest crab species.
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Can squid change color?

Yes, many squid species can change color for camouflage.
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Are squid intelligent?

Squids are considered intelligent, exhibiting complex behaviors.
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What's the role of squid in the ecosystem?

Squids are both predators and prey, playing a key role in marine food chains.
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Author Spotlight

Written by
Tayyaba Rehman
Tayyaba Rehman is a distinguished writer, currently serving as a primary contributor to askdifference.com. As a researcher in semantics and etymology, Tayyaba's passion for the complexity of languages and their distinctions has found a perfect home on the platform. Tayyaba delves into the intricacies of language, distinguishing between commonly confused words and phrases, thereby providing clarity for readers worldwide.

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