European spiny lobster (palinurus elephas)
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Common name European spiny lobster
Scientific name Palinurus elephas
Class Crustaceamorpha
Order Decapoda
Family Palinuridae
Distribution The Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean
Habitat rocky substrates at depths of between 20 and 70 metres.
Dimensions Can grow to a length of 50 cm.
Characteristicts Two long antennae and small hook-like claws.

Due to its colour and long antenna (longer than its entire body) this species is unmistakeable. It has numerous sharp spines on the carapace, over much of the abdomen and on the larger appendages. The eyes are mobile and pedunculate and thirteen pairs of appendages, five of which without claws and used either for movement or for feeding. Colours range between dark brown or purple; abdominal somites two to five each with a distinct pair of large white spots, somite six with a single poster median white spot.

Lobsters are mainly nocturnal when they come out from hiding and feed. During the winter they usually migrate to deeper waters. As far as reproduction is concerned, the lobster is a crustacean with distinct male and female individuals. Mating takes place from autumn to spring. The female produces eggs which she keeps in the lower part of her abdomen. The hatchlings spend a brief period as part of the plankton in the open sea before reaching the substrate and assuming an adult form. Lobsters are gregarious and moult as they grow.