Oxen of the Sea


Characteristics of the edible crab

Oxen of the sea

  • Common name: Edible crab
  • Scientific name: Cancer pagurus
  • Gender: Male
  • Origin: Galician
  • Residence: The Galician Rías Baixas
  • Occupation: I am the Master


  • Height: 10 to 25 cm
  • Weight: 300 gr and 5 kg
  • Objects that accompany the character: The Costume

Nutritional values

  • Energy (in kilocalories): 86 Kcal
  • Carbohydrates (in grams):8 g
  • Fats (in grams): 1 g
  • Protein (in grams): 19 g
  • Vitamins: Vitamin A, B3, B9, B12, B6, E
  • Minerals: Calcium, copper, phosphorus.

History and presentation

I’m Oxen of the Sea, brachyuran and decapod crustacean. Crab family. With the scientific name Cancer pagurus.

I live in rocky seabeds, I like to live in the cracks of the rocks and bury myself in the sand.

The largest of my species reach depths of up to 100 metres. We are nocturnal animals, it is at night that we go out to feed.

My diet is based mainly on small invertebrates that I capture with my strong, thick claws.

Some people confuse me with the French oxen of the sea, but there are many things that make me different.

Pay attention:

I have a lot of hair on my legs, while the French have rather little. My nails are sharp, while the French one is more concave.

My colour is dark brown, pulling towards chestnut, while the French ox seal is lighter.

I’m a source of abundant protein and fat compared to other seafood and rich in minerals such as iodine, magnesium or sodium, as well as vitamins B12, B3 and E.

I’m big, strong and with a lot of meat. Every bite will remind you of the sea due to my characteristic taste.

Buying Oxen of the Sea

Oxen of the sea is another of those seafoods that thousands of Spanish families are used to enjoying only during the Christmas season, when its price rises exponentially for commercial reasons and the increase in demand.

However, this species can be found on the markets almost all year round, except for the months between July and October, when fishing is banned to protect breeding periods.

The fact is that it is an exquisite food, rich in vitamins and minerals, and much cheaper than its peers, the spider crab and the velvet crab.

In addition to these two that we name, the edible crab is part of the same family as prawns, shrimps and lobster, since they are all decapod crustaceans.

When presenting them at the table, it is common to cook them in sea water, or water with salt if this is not possible. Then the legs are separated on one side, the body on the other, and finally the bowl containing the juices.

As with the spider crab, if you have been able to buy a female, you will be able to taste the coral, or the roe of the crab, which takes on its characteristic orange colour.

Also like this other seafood, the crab can be prepared in the Donostia style, fried and baked, with breadcrumbs and butter. In the same way, it can be prepared stuffed in various ways, or as an ingredient in salads, soups and sauces.

At the table, you can’t miss the right cutlery to eat seafood, such as tongs and hook, as well as a good silicon hammer to serve it properly.

What kind of Oxen of the Sea to buy?

The Galician ox seal, or Cancer pagus, is easily recognisable with respect to its foreign cousins such as the French and English. The native ones have more hair on their legs.

In addition, they can be distinguished by their sharp claws and the slightly darker shade of their shell. The females have more meat than the males and include the delicious coral.

Do not hesitate to buy your oxen of sea in our online shop and receive it at home, so you can enjoy this and all the best seafood in Galicia.