California Spiny Lobster

The California Spiny Lobster (Panularis interuptus) is one of the many Crustaceans found around Catalina Island. The maximum size of these lobsters is to about 3 feet in length and up to 30 pounds! These lobsters also differ from the Atlantic lobster in that they lack chelipeds or claws. Instead they have long antennae covered in thick spines (hence the name spiny lobster). These antennae are used to sense both physical movements in the water as well as chemical changes. The longer antennae are used to feel around and even used to defend themselves against predation, while the smaller antennae or the antennules are used to sense chemical changes such as decaying flesh of other animals. They also have these spines covering their body as well!

These Crustaceans are nocturnal meaning that they are active and feed at night. However during the day you will not see these crustaceans because they normally hide themselves within the crevices of rocks and caves. Because these animals can detect decaying flesh of other animals these lobsters are great opportunistic foragers, which means they will eat almost anything! However when they cannot find an easy meal these lobsters will also eat sea urchins, snails and smaller crabs. These Crustaceans are closely related to insects giving them the nickname, the “bugs of the ocean”.