- Ten-legged crustacean with no prominent front claws
- Long antennae twice the length of body
- Sharp, shiny projections along upper shell and sides of tail
- Red to orange shell
- Very strong jaws that deliver powerful bite
- Monterey Bay, California to Magdalena Bay, Baja California, Mexico
- Highest abundance off central Baja California
- 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
- 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!
- 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