- Ten-legged crustacean with no prominent front claws.
- Long antennae twice the length of its body.
- Sharp, shiny projections along upper shell and sides of tail.
- Red to orange coloration on shell.
- Very strong jaws that deliver powerful bite.
- Males are larger than females.
- Monterey Bay, California to Magdalena Bay, Baja California, Mexico.
- Highest abundance off central Baja California.
- Live in lower rocky intertidal zones.
- Up to depths of 230 feet.
- Often found with large kelp and surf grass.
- Often concealed during the day, many lobsters in a single rocky crevice; they feed right after sunset.
- Males reach sexual maturity at 3-6 years old, and females at 5-9 years old.
- Mating in deep water from December-March, usually during upwelling conditions.
- Males deposit sperm onto female, who then lays brood of eggs.
- Females produce several broods of larvae, 50,000-800,000 each, in lifetime.
- Female holds onto eggs beneath their abdomens, protected by pleopods (hard flap right before tail).
- Omnivorous scavengers.
- Scavenge dead animals, detritus, and algae.
- They eat mussels, urchins, coralline algae, fish, and echinoderms.
- Octopuses, California sheephead, cabezon, kelp bass, California moray eels, horn sharks, leopard sharks, giant sea bass, and multiple types of rockfish.
- Humans also fish for them.
- To scare off competitors and predators, the Pacific spiny lobster will move their antennae in a large sweeping motion and make an alarming grating noise by rubbing their antennae against a file-like eyespot.
- To escape from predators, spiny lobsters swim backwards with a flip of the tail. If caught by a predator, they will also self-autotomize, or purposely lose a limb or antennae, to escape!
- They can crawl in every direction.
- Spiny lobsters can regenerate a lost leg or antennae during each molt.
Sources: California Sea Grant; AnimalDiversity.org
Photo: Nate Baker