Types Of Lobsters – An Explanation Visual Guide

Who knew that there were different types of lobsters? Just like crabs, there are many lobster species and there as many similarities as there are differences between the different species. There are lobsters without claws and, of course, there are clawed lobsters.

Lobsters are invertebrates that scavenge shallow areas of the ocean. For the most part, lobsters hide in crevices during the day and only come out at night to look for food. There are many different species of lobsters, but they fall into two main kinds: true (clawed) and false (spiny).

Lobsters are a family of large marine crustaceans. Lobsters have long bodies with muscular tails and live in crevices or burrows on the seafloor. Three of their five pairs of legs have claws, including the first pair, which are usually much larger than the others.

Clawed Lobsters

These are the types of lobsters that you’d visualize in your mind because they are the most common lobster species.

The american lobster, one of the types of lobster found in America.

These kinds of lobster five pairs of legs used for walking and 3 pairs of claws. At first glance, you would notice only two claws to the front as these are always the largest pair.

Both the American lobster and European lobster are clawed lobster and it is the species that you’d be served in a restaurant.

European Lobster.
European Lobster.
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Scientific name: Nephropidae
  • Class: Malacostraca
  • Family: Nephropidae; Dana, 1852
  • Order: Decapods

Fun Fact:  Lobster is fished in water between 2 and 900 meters (1 and 500 fathoms), although some lobsters live at 3,700 meters (2,000 fathoms).

Reef Lobsters

Reef lobsters also have claws but they are not classified as a clawed lobster. These kinds of lobsters only have claws on the first pair of limbs and not on any others.

Reef Lobster.
Reef Lobster.
  • Scientific name: Enoplometopus
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Order: Decapods
  • Rank: Genus
  • Subphylum: Crustacea

Fun Fact: All Reef Lobsters are very territorial and aggressive towards each other, so only one specimen or a mated pair should be kept per tank. You can buy them from online fishing stores or general pet stores like Petco.

Spiny Lobsters

Ever wondered what a lobster without claws called? Well, spiny lobsters are one of these species of lobster. They are also known as rock lobster and they do not have claws on the front of the body. These kinds of lobsters are also a popular source of food and can be ordered at restaurants.

Caribbean Spiny Lobster.
Caribbean Spiny Lobster.

They have very large or long antennae which are spiny in appearance hence their name. They feed on crab, snails, algae and other small creatures. Spiny lobsters can be seen marching after a rainstorm.

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Scientific name: Palinuridae
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Family: Palinuridae; Latreille, 1802
  • Order: Decapods

Fun Fact: Potential predators may be deterred from eating spiny lobsters because they get scared off by a loud screech made by the antennae of the spiny lobsters rubbing against a smooth part of the exoskeleton. 

Slipper Lobsters

Slipper lobsters are also lobsters without claws and, like spiny lobsters, they have enlarged antennae. However, slipper lobsters are flat. In fact, these kinds of lobsters look like they were flat pressed.

Unlike other lobsters that hide in rocks, slipper lobsters are more likely to bury themselves in mud or sand during the day.

Slipper Lobster.
Slipper Lobster.
  • Scientific name: Scyllaridae
  • Class: Malacostraca
  • Phylum: Arthropoda
  • Order: Decapods
  • Rank: Family
  • Higher classification: Achelata

Furry Lobsters

These lobster species have hairlike follicles over their bodies, hence the name, furry lobster. They have noticeable antennae but not as large as spiny lobsters. Furry lobsters are smaller than other species of lobster.

  • Rank: Species
  • Family: Palinuridae; (or Synaxidae)
  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Arthropoda

Furry lobsters are small decapod crustaceans, closely related to the slipper lobsters and spiny lobsters. The antennae are not as enlarged as in spiny and slipper lobsters, and the body is covered in short hairs, hence the name furry lobster.

Squat Lobsters

Though not officially a type of lobster, they do somewhat resemble clawed lobsters, however, they are more closely related to hermit crabs. Squat lobsters live in crevices but are also known to burrow into sand in search of food.

Squat Lobster.
Squat Lobster.

Squat lobsters are flattened crustaceans with long tails held curled beneath the cephalothorax.

Homarus

The European lobster and Atlantic lobster both belong to the genus Homarus.

Homarus Gammarus (European Lobster) grows to a length of 24 inches and can weigh up to 13 pounds. These types of lobsters are considered a delicacy.

Homarus Gammarus (European Lobster)
Homarus Gammarus (European Lobster)

Homarus americanus usually grows in length to between 8–24 inches. They weigh about 1.1–9.0 lbs. But, they are known to exceed 44 lbs. It’s the heaviest marine crustacean in existence.

Homarus americanus
Homarus americanus

Norway Lobster

The Norway lobster (Nephrops norvegicus) has the shape of other lobsters but their bodies are narrower. They are orange-pink lobsters that grow up to 10 inches long.

Types Of Lobsters - An Explanation   Visual Guide 1
Norway lobster (Nephrops norvegicus)

The meat extracted from the tail of the Norway lobster is known as scampi. It is one of the most sorted after delicacies in Europe.

Cape Lobster

The Cape lobster (Homarinus capensis) is a species of small lobster that lives off the coast of South Africa. It is usually found in shallow coastal waters and rock pools.

Nephropsis Rosea

Also known as the rosy lobsterette or two-toned lobsterette. It is found in the Caribbean sea at depths up to 2600 feet.

Nephropsis Rosea

Metanephrops

These types of lobsters are also known as scampi. However, they differ from the other variants like the Norway lobster because they have two main claws that are of equal size.

Types Of Lobsters - An Explanation   Visual Guide 2
Metanephrops japonicus

Thymops

The Patagonian lobsterettea or thymops birsteini is found around the coasts of South America. It has two large claws and a long tail. Its meat is considered to be delicious.

Acanthacaris

They have very small eyes, are very small and lack color. Their antennae are long and whiplike.

Acanthacaris

The first three pairs of walking legs of acanthacaris end in claws. The first pair of claws is symmetrical, and ends in long fingers covered with sharp spines on cutting edges, but without hairs.

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