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. 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.
Lobsters have recently suffered a dramatic demographic decline; intensive fishing has annihilated entire populations, especially where tourism abounds. Please record all sightings of lobsters, identifying individual species where possible. However, we would particularly appreciate your observations on the spiny lobster (Palinurus argus).
The Spiny Lobster (Palinurus argus) has a number of common names, including crawfish (this is not the freshwater crawfish) and Florida lobster. It has numerous spines on the body, two large hooked horns over the eyes, a pair of long jointed antennae and five pairs of walking legs. The body and tail markings are a mottled colouring of yellow, brown, orange and blue.
The tail is segmented and can be rapidly curled under the body to propel the lobster backwards. As with all crustaceans, the spiny lobster moults or sheds its shell to grow. It feeds on clams, snails, seaweed and small marine organisms. A very popular and marketable food source, Spiny Lobsters are harvested using special traps at depths of 2 to 50 metres and are usually landed live.