Lobsters, like shrimps and crabs, are decapods – literally meaning 10 legs – and can be found in all of the world’s tropical and subtropical seas as well as more temperate waters. They are predatory, nocturnal animals 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 organisms at night, but they also feed on organic detritus whenever they happen across it. As with all crustaceans, the lobster moults or sheds its shell to grow.
Lobsters have recently suffered a dramatic demographic decline; intensive fishing has annihilated entire populations, especially where tourism abounds.
The lobster families that you may encounter are the spiny rock lobsters, Palinuridae, the slipper lobsters, Scyllaridae and the true reef lobsters,Nephropidae.
The true reef lobsters, Nephropidae, with their enlarged pincers on the first pair of legs, tend to prefer warm waters. The first pair of walking legs carries large but slightly unequal pincers that can be both formidable and dangerous.
The Palinurus genus (frequently transcribed as Panulirus) is represented by numerous species in all of the world’s tropical and sub-tropical seas as well as more temperate waters. It is a predatory, nocturnal animal with a vividly decorated coat.
The red slipper lobster (Scyllarides herklotsii) is a warm water species found in the Eastern Atlantic They live on stony ground, in caves, and can also be found on muddy. They use the large spade-like scales at the front of the head to burrow into mud, sand or gravel between and under stones. It lacks the large claws of a true lobster, or the long antennae of spiny lobster. Instead it sports very short antennae and two large hinged scales or plates at the front of the shell. The carapace has a rough consistency.