Panulirus argus (Caribbean spiny lobster)

Panulirus argus (the Caribbean spiny lobster) fishery is one of the most important in the Caribbean. Catches have declined by 55% in the last decade because of intensive fishing and change to their habitat.

Spiny lobsters do not have large claws instead they defend themselves with their whip-like antennae.

These animals are famous for their migratory marches. During autumn they head for deep water in long processions, single file. They are one of the few invertebrates capable of true navigation and may use ‘maps’ of the Earth’s magnetic field

Species detail

  • Panulirus argus drawing with scale.
    Taxonomy

    Find out how Caribbean spiny lobsters defend themselves and learn the origins of their scientific name.

  • Panulirus argus on the sea bed
    Distribution

    Discover where the nocturnal Caribbean spiny lobster can be found.

  • Panulirus argus
    Biology

    Read about the growth pattern of Panulirus argus, including the molting process, which occurs around four times per year.

  • panulirus-argus
    Behaviour

    Caribbean spiny lobsters live in groups, performing migratory marches and defending themselves against predators together. Find out more about the fascinating behaviour of these lobsters.

  • Fished Panulirus argus on a boat deck.
    Fishery

    Catches of the spiny lobster are down 55% in the last decade, partly due to intensive fishing. Learn more about the fishery of Panulirus argus.

  • Panulirus argus
    References

    Get reference material for Panulirus argus (the Caribbean spiny lobster).

Images

Panulirus argus

Panulirus argus (the Caribbean spiny lobster) © Nathaniel Pinder 2009

Panulirus argus

Due to their hard shells (exoskeletons), spiny lobsters have to shed them to grow. © Nathaniel Pinder 2009

Panulirus argus

Caribbean spiny lobsters are social animals and live in groups. © Nathaniel Pinder 2009

Panulirus argus

Caribbean spiny lobsters occur throughout the shallow tropical and sub-tropical western Atlantic, from the coasts of Brazil up to North Carolina in the USA. © Nathaniel Pinder 2009

Fished Panulirus argus on a boat deck

At its peak spiny lobster fishery was worth over US$300,000 to fishermen.

Panulirus argus drawing with scale

Caribbean spiny lobsters defend themselves with their whip-like antennae. © FAO Fisheries department

Author

Nicholas Higgs PhD student

Zoology Polychaete Research Group

Department of Zoology

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