Caribbean Spiny Lobster

Caribbean Spiny Lobster

Panulirus argus

About This Animal

SIZE: Adults reach lengths that can be between 8 to 18 inches

RANGE: From Bermuda and the U.S. East Coast southward throughout the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Sea

HABITAT: From shallow seagrass beds and mangrove tree roots to deeper locations near man-made structures and coral reefs. Spiny Lobsters have been found at depths of more than 1,600 feet!

DIET: Clams, worms and Sea Urchins

ON EXHIBIT: Boneless Beauties in Ocean Journey

Unlike other crusteaceans with large front pincers (like American Lobsters and Crayfish), Spiny Lobsters are achelate, meaning clawless, crustaceans. Without menacing claws, Spiny Lobsters are more vulnerable to predators. Instead they use two spike-covered antennae for defense. Like other crustaceans, their body is also armored with a hard exoskeleton and cryptic camouflage.

Spiny Lobsters are nocturnal. They prefer habitats such as mangrove tree roots, rocky reefs and man-made structures that provide hiding places during the day. At night, Spiny Lobsters venture out to scavenge for their favorite foods – clams, worms and sea urchins.

Caribbean Spiny Lobsters are harvested for their delicate meat and are an important part of the seafood industry. Measured in dollars, the Spiny Lobster fishery is the largest commercial fishery in Florida.

State and federal guidelines have been established that limit the harvest of Spiny Lobsters. As a result, Spiny Lobster populations in the U.S. are currently considered stable and abundant, making this species a wise sustainable seafood option.