April 30, 2015


Curacha crabs being sold at Shopwise supermarket in Festival Mall, Alabang at PHP589.00 a kilogram 
curacha – (ku-rát-tsa; Zamboanga and Sulu sea crab, seafood; dw Span. cucaracha [cockroach]) [n.] spanner crab (sc.name: Ranina ranina) \red frog crab.
canduyon in Surigaonon (Surigao City, Surigao del norte)
ipis dagat in Batangueño (northern part of Batangas) 
ipis in Zambaleno (Sambal of Zambales)
kusimay in Ilocano 
bawa in Ta'u-sug
A deep-sea crab with orange to red colored shell even when uncooked.
In the Philippines, this crab is used to be known endemic to the seas of Zamboanga del Sur and Sulu sea, but my research and later discoveries disproved this contention. Similar or closely-related species are also found in other parts of Mindanao, Visayas (particularly in the Pacific side), and the northeastern part of Luzon, though scarce and hardly seen or caught. Some species are also found abounding in the coasts of Hawaii and Australia.

So called curacha, from Spanish cucaracha, which means  "cockroach," because this crustacean looks like a huge cockroach. The shell is almost goblet-shaped, with average size about the size of a human palm. Some are twice as big as the average ones. It has hairy short bristles on the edges, has a pair of large pincers on the sides that extend toward the front, has three sets of legs, two of which are attached on a segmented hard-shelled tail similar to that of lobster but shorter.

It is more of shells than meat, but is highly sought for its delectable taste.

Unlike most crabs, such as the alimasag and the alimango that walks sideward,  curacha can only moves forward and backward.

The biggest ones are priced at PHP689.00 a kilogram in Shopwise supermarket of Festival Mall, Alabang, Muntinlupa City.

My Personal Notes:

Many years back, I thought this crab was named after a classic dance with fancy moves. I thought the crab would just move like that or it would be you doing the dancing steps after dining it or when you're pinched by this crab. I was wrong.

I tried also to look for it in the public market of Zamboanga City in my few travels in Zamboanga peninsula but could hardly find it there these last few years.  If I only knew that I could easily find it in the supermarket, a few hundred meters away from my work place here in Metro Manila, I would not look for this crab that far.    

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