Rock and reef lobsters

Lobsters have recently suffered a dramatic demographic decline; entire populations have been annihilated by intensive fishing, especially where tourism abounds. The diversity of lobsters, molluscs and shrimp is low in the region, with perhaps less than ten species of lobster to be found. However there are two endemic species of lobster, the Juan Fernandez rock lobster (Jasus frontalis) and the Chilean jagged or spiny lobster (Projasus bahamondei).

The Chilean jagged lobster, is generally not commercially exploited, but is frequently landed as bycatch. Other lobsters to be found will include the squat lobster (Pleuroncodes monodon) and Palinuras spp. The Palinurus genus (often frequently transcribed as Panulirus) or Spiny Lobster is represented by numerous species in all the world’s

tropical and sub-tropical seas. It is a predatory, nocturnal animal with a vividly decorated coat. They are often numerous locally; they linger in crevices (with their long antennae sticking out) during the day and hunt small benthic (bottom dwelling) organisms at night, but they also feed on organic detritus when they happen across it.

They are not overly aggressive, and will only attack very small (about 1/5 their size) animals, so from the lobster’s predation most larger organisms are safe. They can eat sessile (permanently fixed and immobile) organisms such as barnacles, and clams.