Squat Lobster

  • Squat LobsteScientific name: Galathea squamifera
  • Size: Maximum length of around 9-10cm
  • Distribution: Widespread but sparse distribution throughout British and Irish waters.

Despite its name the squat lobster is not a true lobster at all but a member of a separate family – Galatheidae – which makes them closer to species of small crabs than lobsters. Despite this the name squat lobster appears to have stuck to this species, probably because superficially they do look closer to lobsters than crabs. They live around rocky areas and can be found anywhere between the inter-tidal zone to water one hundred metres deep. The biggest populations of squat lobster are found in the Atlantic, which makes them more common on the western coasts of the British Isles, although smaller populations are present elsewhere in Britain. They are also found in the Mediterranean. The squat lobster can grow to around three inches in length and are generally a dark brown in colour, although certain species may be closer to orange or red in colour. Some species may also have greenish speckles or patterns on the carapace. The claws are relatively large when compared to the rest of the animal and the tail and rearmost set of legs may be curled under the body. Squat lobster will scavenge for food on the seabed, and will also filter feed. While squat lobster are edible they are not widely and have no commercial value. Some anglers have had success using squat lobsters as bait, but it has yet to catch on as a commonly used sea fishing bait.

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